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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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