Deborah Perry Piscione

Deborah Perry Piscione is a serial entrepreneur, thought leader in innovation, board advisor, NY Times best selling author and speaker. After selling her first company, BettyConfidential, Deborah created Alley to the Valley as the proverbial female golf course where highly accomplished women can come together to create deals.  She also wrote the highly acclaimed book, Secrets of Silicon Valley:  What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World, among three other best-selling books.

Deborah is the architect of Improvisational Innovation, which helps companies grow through a bottom’s up innovation approach.

Prior to her move to Silicon Valley in 2006, Deborah spent 18 years in Washington, DC as a staffer in the U.S. Congress and The White House in addition to serving as a lobbyist.

Deborah is also an on-air commentator, public speaker and Stanford University guest lecturer on topics including the Silicon Valley ecosystem and culture in addition to growing regional economies through innovation, entrepreneurship and public policy issues.

Case Studies / Awards

  • Stanford University Case Study, Graduate School of Business:  “Deborah Perry Piscione:  Finding Opportunity in Silicon Valley”
  • Silicon Valley Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2010)
  • Gracie Allen Award for Debate (NPR segment)


Secrets of Silicon Valley

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.

Changing Mindset

We know we need to change mindsets within our organization…but HOW?

Deborah Perry Piscione is an authority on how leaders are changing the mindsets of their companies and driving unprecedented innovation and growth as a result.  Her intriguing work stems from the stark differences between old-school power and new school leadership. 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 mindsets 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. 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.

Improvisational Innovation: Two words that democratize the opportunity for anyone in any part of the company to bring forth new ideas

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’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 shows 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.

 T-Shape People: Tapping into your People’s Passions, Interests & Hobbies

Part of Silicon Valley’s innovative success is to seek out T-shape people. This means that you may hire someone based on their expertise or education (the vertical part of the T), but also seek to engage someone’s passions, interests and hobbies (the horizontal part of the T) so you can harness all the talent of your workforce.  Perry Piscione proves through many company case studies when you give T-shape people the freedom to experiment, the company can often grow new revenue streams in unexpected ways, and simultaneously develop talent to reach new heights.


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.

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

Mike Walsh

Leading Futurist

Brett King

Bank 3.0

Peggy Liu

China Today