I spent a few days in Israel to understand the phenomena first hand. Here are my 3 key takeaways:
1) Israelis see innovation as their most precious natural resource – it’s a mindset that gets created from school and nurtured every step of the way. They believe their survival depends on it, e.g., every entrepreneur starts their business with the knowledge that there is no domestic market in Israel. Their success depends on their ability to build for global markets. And for that they have to depend on their ability to innovate better than others. It’s built into the design of their success mantra.
2) A connected ecosystem – I have not seen any country connect every single part of its ecosystem to drive innovation and entrepreneurship as effectively as Israel does. From Univs to VCs to Global R&D hubs to Govt-everyone is connected to the start up ecosystem with a shared mission to strengthen innovation. The Israel Innovation Authority does a brilliant job of working across the tech value chain to connect the dots and channelise focus.
3) The Israeli tech ecosystem is built on one key value – the inventor is key. The inventor is without a doubt the most valued part of the tech value chain, providing a huge incentive to be innovate! And then there’s the chutzpah, of course!