Client Case: Global Innovation Summit

Crowd Source Solutions while building Innovation Culture


  • The Global Innovation Summit (GIS) was convened in the heart of Silicon Valley during 2012, 2014 and 2015. These conferences were attended by hundreds of participants each year, with participants from every continent save Antarctica, representing 50+ countries and at least 24 industries.
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  • The mission of each GIS was to make geography irrelevant to innovation; to give every innovator a chance to pursue a dream no matter where they are located by creating local and regional innovation ecosystems that are networked globally.
  • To harness the collective intelligence of attendees in real-time to address real-world issues requiring profound levels of innovation.


  • A network of global innovators and experts was established and built upon through the three Global Innovation Summits, which continues to flourish through communication, collaboration and repeated GIS participation.
  • Client engagements with Rainforest Strategies can be traced back to the GIS conferences: US Department of Commerce – El Paso/Innovation Frontera, US Virgin Islands, and others.


  • The GIS format has evolved over the years to become something of a mass collaboration activity lasting several days, while still offering all the trappings of a world-class conference of movers and shakers.
  • Diverse delegations attended from places as different from one another as Africa and Canada, the Middle East and California. Attendee purposes ranged from national and regional economic development to social impact investing, from venture funding and formation to rapid prototyping, from application of Internet-based geo-mapping technology and water purification to organizational change management and artistic expression.
  • A cadre of over 60 influential leaders and facilitators across many fields of innovation around the world interacted with attendees in moderated plenary conversations, keynote speeches, panel discussions, case study presentations, and specialized breakout sessions.
  • In both GIS 2014 and GIS 2015, the entire plenary audience (over 400 participants in 2014) were engaged in mass-collaboration activities. In GIS 2014, a “value harvester” was set up for Microsoft Bing to gain insight from conference attendees over the days of the GIS. Their goal was to crowdsource innovation to address issues in the favelas in Brazil, some of the world’s largest slums where millions live in poverty. During that GIS, 50 of the participants volunteered to focus on this topic to great effect. In 2015 all participants, in teams, participated in four Design Labs, employing the Rainforest Scorecard assessment to identify strategic issues, visions for success and potential solutions. To our knowledge, it was the largest innovation ecosystem mapping exercise ever conducted.




  • Multi-day conference designs and execution plans.
  • Mass-collaboration exercises that can be run with hundreds of participants simultaneously.
  • Educational and keynote addresses on innovation ecosystems.
  • Rainforest Scorecard assessments of hundreds of participants.
  • Microsoft Bing summary of findings from crowd-sourcing innovation.
  • The Innovation Rainforest gallery.
  • Graphic summaries of keynote addresses, case study presentations, and plenary conversations.
  • Design Labs produced team models and individual Rainforest Scorecard assessment sheets, visions and solutions.
  • Numerous articles and blog and social media entries around the world.
  • Summary video. 


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