Deborah Perry Piscione

Bestselling Innovation Author and Entrepreneur

  • Author three bestselling innovation books, Secrets of Silicon Valley, The Risk Factor, and The People Equation
  • Principal and Co-founder of Vorto Consulting
  • Founded four companies, including Alley to the Valley® and Freshwear
  • Staffer, The White House & US Congress
  • Awards include: Silicon Valley Women Business Owner of the Year Award, Gracie Allen Award, The White House Project Award, Editorial Excellence Best of the Web Award
  • Stanford University Case Study (Case E-424), for the Graduate School of Business - Deborah Perry Piscione (Finding Opportunity in Silicon Valley)"

We know that great leaders are defined by the extraordinary people that they lead. What makes Deborah Perry Piscione (bio) so special is that she has uncovered the DNA from the inspired cultures of the most innovative companies in the world.

It is no surprise that organizations that build systems to grow the passions of their talented workforce are more productive, more innovative, more loyal, and consistently move faster than competitors. Provocative and wonderfully entertaining, Deborah's presentations are a prerequisite for leaders looking to shake the status quo.

Areas of Expertise

Innovation  |  Culture  |  Talent  |  Leadership  |  Risk  |  Collaboration  |  Entrepreneurship


Speech Topics

The Secret to Silicon Valley's Innovation Culture (and Staggering Growth)

Why do governments around the globe keep sending delegations to Silicon Valley to try to discover its secrets? What is it that Silicon Valley can teach the rest of the world about creating value from ideas, build new forms of business and create disruptive innovation? The secret is in the synergy that creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In this keynote, speaker Deborah Perry Piscione explains how different parts of the ecosystem come together as an interconnected web, such as the collaborative dynamics between private and public sectors, the interplay between higher education and the business community and the commercialization of know-how. Piscione takes a close look at the spirit of entrepreneurialism, examining the six characteristics that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs radiate -- passion, authenticity, love of ideas, an appetite for risk, trustworthiness, and resilience. You will find this an extremely enlightening and inspiring keynote.

Turbocharging People:  Getting Great Things Done in the Age of Innovation

 
We all understand how hard it is to manage people.  Since human behavior can be unpredictable, we set policies and procedures to limit behavior and focus our energies on managing productivity and investing in technological solutions. This has led to organization cultures that over-reward production at the expense of under rewarding creativity, risk-taking, problem-solving, and a general passion for innovation and improvement.
 
In this breakthrough presentation based on her new book, The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products, Deborah Perry Piscione shows that every organization can develop a mindset, an organizational structure, and product development/ problem-solving processes that will maximize creativity and innovation.
 
Using examples from admired organizations and from her research into world-class business practices, Piscione shows how to create a culture where risk-taking is rewarded, Mavericks are encouraged, a collaboration between highly competent people is nurtured, and, when experiments and new initiatives are proposed, the response is to ask how rather than question why. This is a truly inspiring and pragmatic presentation on harnessing the creative energy in every organization.

How to Create a Risk-taking Culture

It's no coincidence that our most revered business icons are also the boldest risk-takers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs. Yet with so much emphasis on short-term stock price gains and bottom line focus, organizations tend to act too safe, resulting in a stagnant business culture which generates entirely forgettable results in a world that demands significant solutions. If groundbreaking innovation is about taking calculated risks, then why do companies not only set reams of policies and procedures to limit risk, but also spend no resources developing the key skills and systems for effective risk-taking?

In this poignant presentation, Deborah discusses how to get back into the business of taking risk. Based on her series of books, including The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure, Deborah Perry Piscione explores risk-taking as a powerful tool for leaders and their organizations. By looking into the fascinating heroes of risk, Piscione makes the case that for your culture to act smarter, faster, and with more agility and creativity, you must explore the one core leadership skill that has been completely ignored in corporate cultures. She explores both the individual skills and organization systems to unleash risk-taking. This is a very exciting speech for an entire audience.

Quantum Power of Women: Why Women Will Drive Innovation and Growth in the Future

 

 The past year has been a breakthrough for women.  Yet how many leaders are seeing beyond the salacious stories of misconduct, and view this as an opportunity to drive unprecedented innovation and growth in their organizations?

Deborah Perry Piscione sees it.  She is the Founder of Alley to the Valley, the nation’s largest deal-making network for women.  By working with thousands of powerful female leaders, she has seen first-hand how the inclusion of women has to lead to a vast improvement in every corner and every level of organizations.


Videos


Articles


Books

Book cover for Secrets of Silicon Valley

Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World

While the global economy languishes, one place just keeps growing despite failing banks, uncertain markets, and high unemployment: Silicon Valley. In the last two years, more than 100 incubators have popped up there, and the number of angel investors has skyrocketed. Today, 40 percent of all venture capital investments in the United States come from Silicon Valley firms, compared to 10 percent from New York. In Secrets of Silicon Valley, entrepreneur and media commentator Deborah Perry Piscione takes us inside this vibrant ecosystem where meritocracy rules the day. She explores Silicon Valley's exceptionally risk-tolerant culture, and why it thrives despite the many laws that make California one of the worst states in the union for business. Drawing on interviews with investors, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, as well as a host of case studies from Google to Paypal, Piscione argues that Silicon Valley's unique culture is the best hope for the future of American prosperity and the global business community and offers lessons from the Valley to inspire reform in other communities and industries, from Washington, DC to Wall Street.

 

The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure

Our most revered business icons of the last few decades are the bold risk-takers, such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs. Yet in today's stock market-driven economy, companies are playing it safe, with too many leaders focused on short-term gains, rather than value creation. The result is a static business culture that generates forgettable results―even as the world demands big solutions. So how do we get back in the risk-taking game? In The Risk Factor, Deborah Perry Piscione takes the most comprehensive look at this crucial, undervalued leadership behavior, and outlines how companies must support risk-taking across the enterprise. Exploring the heroes of risk, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and technologists, and the role risk-taking and failure tolerance play in their success, she makes a compelling case not only for big, flashy mergers or acquisitions but also for unorthodox choices in everything from leadership to corporate social responsibility. Drawing on case studies from a wide range of now-famous giants (Netflix, Salesforce) and successful start-ups (Tesla, NetApp), she distills lessons for both new entrepreneurs and established companies whose longtime risk aversion has cost them more than they realize.

book cover for The People Equation

The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products

Every business leader knows that the key to growth is innovation—if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Deborah Perry Piscione and David Crawley argue that ultimately the key to innovation is people. After all, creativity is a uniquely human function, something that can’t be automated. So how do you design an organization so that it provides the elements that will bear new thinking and bring forth bold ideas? Through The People Equation.

Based on examples from their consulting work and research into successful business practices, Perry Piscione and Crawley’s The People Equation enables leaders to create a culture where psychological safety is a given, risk-taking is embraced, and collaboration between highly competent people is nurtured. When experiments and new initiatives look promising, Perry Piscione and Crawley’s Improvisational Innovation process provides a roadmap to quickly develop ideas and bring them to market. All this requires upending the usual organizational pyramid and instilling a completely new mindset throughout the organization.

Perry Piscione and Crawley show that in our rapidly changing world, the top is not where the really disruptive ideas are going to come from. And if people are afraid to take chances, even fail, you’re never going to get those ideas—playing it safe means you’ll be out of the game. The People Equation provides you with a formula for exponentially increasing out-of-the-box thinking in your organization and multiplying your chances for greater growth and success.


Testimonials

"Deborah, thank you for speaking to our global leads, and it was by far, the most valuable insights into Silicon Valley, innovation and the region's economic prowess."

          - Accenture
 
"Thank you so much for your excellent presentation. I tremendously enjoyed the way you presented: clear, to the point and in a very energetic way. Thanks again for a truly engaging performance and for coming the long way!"
          - Innotown
 
"In her presentation, Deborah drilled down for us what it is going to take to create risk-taking cultures and what organizations are going to need in order to succeed in this economy."
          - Council of Foreign Relations
 
"One of the best speakers we've encountered in innovation process.  It was Deborah's talk that made us transform our global innovation team and practices."
          - Phillip Morris International
 
"Deborah was all that we expected.  Her unique vision of innovation and leadership is exactly what the World Business Forum needed."
          - WOBI (HSM)
 
"We brought in Deborah to speak to 100 manufacturing CEOs as part of our innovation series, and her lessons were a hit.  Without a doubt, we are bringing her back."
          - Tecnologico de Monterrey 
 
"I could not be happier with the choice to have her come to our event. She really impressed me and it was the general consensus among our students that she really stood her ground and represented women very well. She was so pleasant to work with and was so readily able to accommodate us. She truly shined." 
          - Northeastern University
 
"Deborah was a great asset to our client event. She connected with our audience immediately, took questions and spent time with many of the members afterward. She took considerable time to learn about the company and its audience, making the content as relevant as possible. This proved extremely valuable in her presentation the day of the event."
          - The Learning Studio
 
"We so enjoyed having you as our speaker. Great comments are still coming in!"
         - Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

Bio

Deborah Perry Piscione

The Voice of the Innovation Generation

 

We know that great leaders are defined by the extraordinary people that they lead.  What makes Deborah Perry Piscione so special is that she has uncovered the DNA from the inspired cultures of the most innovative companies in the world.
It is no surprise that organizations that build systems to grow the passions of their talented workforce are more productive, more innovative, more loyal, and consistently move faster than competitors.  Provocative and wonderfully entertaining, Deborah's presentations are a prerequisite for leaders looking to shake the status quo.
Through her years of research and hands-on work with many of Silicon Valley's pioneer companies, she has found the keys to building organizations into innovation machines and preparing leaders for the future.  Deborah's discoveries are highlighted by her series of critically acclaimed books:
  • Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World
  • The Risk Factor: Why Every Organization Needs Big Bets, Bold Characters, and the Occasional Spectacular Failure
  • The People Equation: Why Innovation Is People, Not Products
 
All of these books and the research in them stems from the differences between old-school power and new school leadership, which Deborah understands well through firsthand experience. Having worked as an insider at the White House and Capitol Hill, and then moving into the center of Silicon Valley, Deborah was struck by the vast differences in power and leadership between the two coasts. She became fascinated by the collaborative cultures of innovation that dominate the Silicon Valley region, especially the voracious appetite for growing value from ideas.
 
This spurred her to launch four successful businesses and she is currently launching her fifth, Freshwear (under-apparel for women). Another, Alley to the Valley, has grown into the most influential program for connecting powerful business women.Deborah Perry Piscione speaking to an audienceIt is this unique experience and understanding that has made her one of the most sought-after business speakers today. With companies and industries looking for every new customer, every new idea, every advantage they can find, Deborah specializes in helping organizations do this by understanding their under-realized assets -- their talent workforce -- that they already have under their nose, and build systems that unlock their full potential. Both her keynotes and her innovation boot camps for Fortune 500 leaders are fully customized for your very specific needs.

 
Her clients include Google, McKinsey, TED Talks, Cadence Design, London School of Economics, Microsoft, McDonald's, WOBI/HSM, NetApp, Princeton University, KPMG, Innotown, Qualcomm, Society for Human Resource Management, Stanford University, Accenture, Texas Economic Development Council, Singularity University Council on Foreign Relations, and many others.

 
Ultimately, Deborah is the perfect speaker if you are searching for an undeniably compelling presentation exploring how to adapt to the demands of an increasingly fast paced, agile, and unforgiving world.