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Exporting Process Innovation

As Director of Research at Valhalla Partners (my day job), a venture-capital firm in Northern Virginia, I’ve thought quite a bit about sources of regional advantage in the Washington, DC area. 

One thing we understand very well in Washington is process, although many of us are frustrated with it more often than excited by it.  But to my mind, it can be a source of strength.

Many of our processes are pretty good.  Consider, for example, a process we might call “Forming Consensus Among Disparate Factions”.  That’s a specialite of DC, and one which is in short supply in, say, Iraq, or Zimbabwe, or even Malaysia.

What if we could export some of our DC processes as innovations to the rest of the world?

We’ve tried it, of course, in the form of grafting our legal system onto Afghanistan or our commercial code onto Iraq.  But we’re exporting the wrong thing here.  We need to export not the details of our processes but the “process pattern” of them.

More on this in a subsequent post.

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About the author

an Gordon is Research Director for Valhalla Partners, a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Dan has twenty-eight years experience working with technology, as a computer scientist, software developer, manager, analyst, and entrepreneur. Prior to joining Valhalla Partners, Dan was a Director and senior staff member at the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Centre, analyzing technology trends and consulting on technology-oriented strategies in the software, e-business, wireless, optical, networking, semiconductor IP, and life sciences arenas. He worked with clients from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. Dan was a Contributing Writer and Contributing Editor to the Technology Centre’s annual Technology Forecast, and a frequent speaker at industry and general business meetings. Before joining PwC, Dan spent 20 years in Silicon Valley as a software technologist, manager, director, and entrepreneur, including senior technical roles at well-known Silicon Valley firms like Symantec, Intuit, and Oracle. Dan has also been involved in startup companies in the applied Artificial Intelligence and Web applications fields. Dan has a B.A. (cum laude) from Harvard University and an M.S. from New York University in Computer Science. He is a Professional Member of the IEEE and ACM. Dan lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two children.