I gave a presentation today on the Silicon Valley Ecosystem, STVP and entrepreneurship at Stanford to a delegation from the Netherlands, and it was very interesting to meet and talk with them. Led by the Mayor of the high-tech business city of Enschede, the group consisted of entrepreneurs, senior leadership from the University of Twente (based there), research institutes, and the local and regional government. Enschede just signed an economic agreement with the City of Palo Alto. The triangle of the "Technology Valley", "Health Valley" and "Food Valley" region in the East of the Netherlands is very ambitious, working to attract and stimulate innovative high-tech companies.
The delegation wanted to learn what makes Silicon Valley tick, so they can work to create a similar environment at home. It was very inspirational to see how committed they are to establishing an even more entrepreneurial culture.
Among other things, I encouraged them to “create a playground in which really smart people can experiment freely and fearlessly.” I’d say that’s one of the key differences between Silicon Valley and other places. If you aren't taking risks, you aren't innovating.