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Reuters/Robert Galbraith
Clusters of innovation.

Why Silicon Valley is no longer the global model

Anisha Sircar
Member exclusive by Anisha Sircar

As coronavirus pushes the world toward a global recession and governments contend with a pandemic that is battering economies and livelihoods with no end in sight, one Silicon Valley voice thinks it’s time to change how we think about businesses and innovation.

“The world of innovation needs a refresh,” says Alex Lazarow, a Bay Area-based venture capitalist, academic, and author. That refresh is already “well underway” at what he terms “the frontier”—centers outside Silicon Valley and its counterparts, located largely in emerging markets, that operate with far fewer resources and networks. The entrepreneurs in these places are out-innovating their Silicon Valley counterparts, argues Lazarow in his new book Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs—from Delhi to Detroit—Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley.

In this time of coronavirus-fueled uncertainty, startups should strive not to be like Silicon Valley unicorns, but rather like “camels” of the frontier: ventures that capitalize on opportunity, but also focus on sustainability and long-term growth, i.e. surviving droughts and pandemics from the get-go.