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Lessons Learned from Silicon Valley

5 key takeaways and how these lessons could be extrapolated to organization in the Middle East

We recently took a team of innovators from one UAE Government entity, who participated in the internal innovation acceleration program we run in the GCC, on a discovery trip to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where we had the opportunity to visit a wide variety of companies (i.e. Google, SAP, Palantir, Udacity, Plug and Play, Silicon Foundries, Silicon Valley Bank, Quid, Stanford, San Francisco City Hall, Danish Innovation Center, Facebook). The original objective of this trip was to get our innovators exposed to the highly dynamic innovation environment found in that part of the world. However, the results were much more than that, as it proved to be a highly transformative experience that changed the way participants understand how “innovation works” and which challenged all their assumptions.


Summarizing this experience in a short blog post is very difficult; nevertheless, it is worth to abstract the key lessons learned. Silicon Valley represents a unique innovation ecosystem, with multiple elements which make it arguably the world’s most innovative cluster and the reference point of innovation worldwide (although for how long it is yet to be seen). Few numbers strengthen this perception. Silicon Valley (together with the entire Bay Area) capture the largest concentration of high-tech companies (and jobs) in the USA. The highest average high-tech salaries, 30% of the world’s venture capital, 15,000 startups (of which 200 have valuations over USD 500 M), plus the majority of the all big tech giants.


Below we summarize the 5 key takeaways our group of innovators have gained, and how these lessons learned could be extrapolated to other GCC organizations:

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