Our innovation economy is broken. But there's good news: The ideas that will solve our problems are hiding in plain sight.
While big companies in the American economy have never been more successful, entrepreneurial activity is near a 30-year low. More businesses are dying than starting every day. Investors continue to dump billions of dollars into photo-sharing apps and food-delivery services, solving problems for only a wealthy sliver of the world's population, while challenges in health, food security, and education grow more serious.
In The Innovation Blind Spot, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ross Baird argues that the innovations that truly matter don't see the light of day--for reasons entirely of our own making. A handful of people in a handful of cities are deciding, behind closed doors, which entrepreneurs get a shot to succeed. And most investors are what Baird calls "two-pocket thinkers"--artificially separating their charitable work from their day job of making a profit.
The resulting system creates rising income inequality, stifled entrepreneurial ambition, social distrust, and political uncertainty. Our innovation problem makes all our other problems harder to solve. In this book, Baird demonstrates how and where to find better ideas by lifting up people, places, and industries that are often overlooked. What's more, Baird ultimately outlines how to create long-term success through "one-pocket thinking"--eliminating the blind spot that separates "what we do for a living" and "what we really care about."
Ross Baird is an entrepreneur and investor who is best known for finding, developing, and investing in entrepreneurs in places and industries where most people aren't looking. He founded Village Capital in 2009 and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs in over fifty countries since then. He has visited over a hundred cities worldwide by train, plane, and bus in an effort to find new entrepreneurs and help people supporting them, and he and Village Capital have partnered with over twenty Fortune 500 companies to help large institutions uncover new innovations. Before joining Village Capital, Ross worked for a venture capital firm and was on the founding team of four different startups. Ross and his work have been featured by more than fifty media outlets including the New York Times, Bloomberg Business Week, Inc., and FastCompany. He has also lectured in entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia since 2012. He has a MPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a BA from the University of Virginia, where he was a Truman Scholar and a Jefferson Scholar.
Foreword Introduction PART I: THE INNOVATION BLIND SPOT Chapter 1: What Happened to the American Dream? Chapter 2: Chasing Whales and Unicorns: Why the Venture Capital Process Causes Us to Miss Out on Most Ideas Chapter 3: People and Place: It's Who You Know Chapter 4: The Two-Pocket Mentality: How Short-Term Thinking Sets Us Up for Long-Term Failure PART II: THE EMERGING MOVEMENT: ILLUMINATING THE BLIND SPOTS Chapter 5: Changing the Process: Why Entrepreneurs Are Better Judges of New Ideas Than Expert Investors Chapter 6: Building the Pipeline Chapter 7: One-Pocket Thinking: Why Do We Know What Things Cost but Not What They're Worth? PART III: SOMEDAY IS TODAY: HOW TO OVERCOME INNOVATION BLIND SPOTS Chapter 8: How Investors Can Find Ideas Where No One Else Is Looking Chapter 9: How Do I Become a One-Pocket Investor? Chapter 10: How Do I Illuminate Blind Spots in a Big Company? Chapter 11: How Government Can Play a Role in Closing Innovation Blind Spots Chapter 12: What Do I Do If I've Got the Next Great Idea? PART IV: TOPOPHILIA Chapter 13: "We Are the They": Building an Ecosystem Chapter 14: What Can Happen to the American Dream? Acknowledgements About the Author Notes Index