Conference lead-in event ‘Silicon Valley 101’

Silicon Valley: home to many of the world’s largest technology corporations and the world’s leading hub for high-tech innovation and development. Its success has attracted countless visitors, from researchers to politicians and policy-makers, business managers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, all looking for insights into a potential high-tech future in-the-making for their country. Each has brought an interpretation of the Silicon Valley message back home, leading to the development of science parks, technopoles, and science cities in order to instigate a self-sustaining chain reaction of knowledge-based economic growth.

But will visiting a contemporary success scene reveal the secret of high-tech growth, or is that key buried in an earlier era of origin and development? Many visitors to Silicon Valley take back home an image derived from successful firms and science parks and attempt to replicate it, without sufficiently considering the substructure on which this superstructure is built. Behind the surface manifestations of entrepreneurial activity in the Valley, where failure is said to be celebrated as a learning experience as well as success, lies a many decades long history of history of academic entrepreneurship, university-industry relations, firm formation, government-supported R&D and industrial policy, targeted at both military and civilian objectives.

Our conference lead-in event ‘Silicon Valley 101’ was designed as a multi-lecture analysis of key features, history and current developments of Silicon Valley, by distinguished scholars and practitioners from different professional backgrounds. They will pay particular attention to the origins, development and dynamics of Silicon Valley, the innovation theories, policies and practices that lie behind the attempts to ‘clone’ Silicon Valley worldwide, as well as the global links created between the Valley and its ‘sisters’ through immigrants, investments, knowledge and technology transfer, the concentration of venture capital – an important “pull” factor, supplemented by the availability of managerial talent, technical and business skills.

Convener: Prof. Henry Etzkowitz, Senior Researcher, H-STAR Institute, Stanford University


  • Doug Henton, Chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics – Advisors to Civic Entrepreneurs, and strategic advisor to the California Economic Strategy Panel.
    Theme: “Evolution of the Silicon Valley Habitat”.
  • James Williams, President of the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) and Professor Emeritus of History, De Anza College, Cupertino, California.
    Theme: “The early electrical and radio industries in the San Francisco Bay Area as the foundation for emergence of Silicon Valley in post-WWII years.
  • Martin Kenney, Professor, University of California, Davis; Senior Project Director, Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, University of California, Berkeley; West Coast editor for Research Policy.
    Theme: “The History and Development of Venture Capital in the San Francisco Bay Area“.
  • Burton Lee, Lecturer in European Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Stanford School of Engineering, and Managing Director of Innovarium Ventures
    Theme: “Understanding Silicon Valley Through Comparisons with European Innovation Ecosystems”
  • Marguerite Gong Hancock, Associate Director of the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE), Stanford University
    Theme: to be announced
Triple Helix Conference I Amsterdam, 1996 II New York, 1998 III Rio de Janeiro, 2000 IV Copenhagen, 2002 V Turin, 2005 VI Singapore, 2007 VII Glasgow, 2009 VIII Madrid, 2010 IX Stanford, 2011 X Indonesia, 2012 XI London, 2013
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