Innovation; Israel & Denmark

Innovation is one of those much-hyped buzz words. It can be used in the context of motivation. And yes, I have written about them both, often in the context of Israeli society and commerce.

Yes, Israel is good at innovation. “Why?” the question was posed yesterday by a 4-strong delegation from Denmark’s Enterprise and Construction Authority. I met them with leaders from “Israel Business Connection“, which is dedicated to helping new immigrants to integrating into society.

The discussion was fascinating. One key theme to emerge was that you cannot legislate innovation. It has to be part of a culture. A central authority help to provide some of the conditions of that environment. Here, Israel has several fundamentals working in its favour.

Let’s start by returning to the theme of immigration. It is an accepted fact that much of the brains behind Israeli hightech and cleantech are Russian Jews, who abandoned the Kremlin as soon as they could in the 1990s. With or without Hebrew, many have found their way into industry. I come across this almost every week in my company visits.

And yes, Israel is surrounded by less than friendly countries, which forces (or motivates) it to be creative. Military tech is often converted to civilian use, once former soldiers take on regular jobs. An early example were night sights and their application in medical equipment.

The Israeli government sets up incubators, several of whom have since been bought by private companies. These afford young firms the opportunity to concentrate on development, while minimising the burden of admin.

In parallel, there is a system to allow start ups to engage with professional business mentors, subsidised by 75%. In the past year, I have fulfilled this role several times. It is demanding and rewarding. It requires experience to see above and beyond the immediate issues. I challenge the client to focus on what is the core subject and not to be bogged down with trivialities.

The Danish team reported that in terms of start ups, there is no shortage of numbers in their country. The problems revolve around converting this energy in to large companies. And while we were chatting, the Israeli treasury announced measures to tackle that very subject.

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One Comment on “Innovation; Israel & Denmark”

  1. […] have written how Denmark is looking at the Israel model to becoming a successful innovative society. Yesterday, I went to a […]

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