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Archives [ April, 2015 – March, 2019 ]

Silicon Valley and the Future of Innovation

Original Broadcast Date:
March 5, 2016(UTC)

The four specialists from nearby Stanford University who were invited to address this topic were: acclaimed political economist and author Francis Fukuyama, Director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; William Barnett of the Graduate School of Business, an authority on competition between businesses within a wide range of industries; Kenji Kushida, research associate from the Asia-Pacific Research Center, and a dedicated follower of the fortunes and failures of Japanese firms looking to enter Silicon Valley; and moderator Takeo Hoshi, Director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center, an expert on the nurturing business ecology of Silicon Valley.

The panelists begin by outlining what they see as the keywords to the past and future success of the locale, which range from the spirit of informal collaboration and open communication which could be termed "social capital," to the importance of failure in stimulating fresh innovation: much as new plants are free to grow when a mighty tree falls in the forest, our experts are excited to ponder the kind of now-unimaginable "bodacious" enterprises that will take the place of current giants such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, once they reach the inevitable end of their own life cycles.

The role of Universities and of Governments in helping to promote innovation is also considered. But there are words of caution for areas elsewhere in the world––including Japan––that may be seeking to replicate the successes of Silicon Valley. Studying models from the past is often not the best way to ensure sustainable innovation and business growth in the future. Nor is the role of business leaders to predict what great developments are on the horizon, so much as to create environments conducive to free-thinking, that also take into account local differences and needs.

As globalization continues to bring diversity into focus in all business sectors, our experts stress the importance of merit over privilege when seeking to harness 100% of the available human potential in order to address global problems such as hunger and war––issues that are ultimately much more important to our future than mere information technology.


Takeo Hoshi

Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

Kenji Kushida

Research Associate
Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

Francis Fukuyama

Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Stanford University


William Barnett

Graduate School of Business Stanford University