Innovation in the Public Sector: Dream or Reality?

First day of Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society concludes with call for government, public sector to trail-blaze

The majority of countries in the world emphasize innovation as a central catalyst in their strategies to guarantee long-term economic growth. The ability of Israeli society to reinvent itself and lead innovative processes has been the bedrock of the development of its economy and society. However, the ability to advance innovation in the public sector has become increasingly challenging in recent years.

The concluding session of the first day of the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society ended with a call for the government and public sector to find new ways to innovate.

Shmuel (Mooly) Eden, Former Senior Vice President at Intel Corporation and President of Intel Israel: "Most people say, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' In government, however, you cannot afford to wait until its broken. … We have to encourage creativity across the board, from the top levels of ministers to directors-general."

Michael Eisenberg, Founding Partner, Aleph: "Societies, states and municipalities have to take huge risks in order to succeed. … Take risks. Fail. It's good."

Eyal Gura, Founder and Co-Partner or Zebra Medical Vision: "We want to conquer the world and we don’t have time to deal with [Israeli] bureaucracy." He told attendees that while Israel might be the Startup Nation, having to fight against the obstacles to penetrate the market, it's easier to go somewhere else abroad where "people want us. Why should we be stuck?"

Amit Lang, Director-General, Ministry of Economy: "The government needs to give up some power to inculcate innovation, passing this power to the business sector, which can do things in more innovative and faster ways."

Retired Judge Joseph H. Shapira, State Comptroller and Ombudsman: "Reality today hands us many changes in various areas of life and all aspects of the public sector have to adapt in order to survive. Stability without change is decline."

Imad Telhami, Founder and CEO, Babcom Centers: "Within the Arab population today you can see a sea-change. There is more of a desire to fit into the Israeli economy, more people integrating into high-tech." However, Telhami said that there are still several barriers to entry, including suspicion of the government, lack of awareness of government benefits, and cultural gaps [between the Arab and Jewish communities]. "The Arab-Israeli sector is about 30 years behind the rest of Israel."

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About the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society
The Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society (formerly the Caesarea Forum) will take place May 24-25, 2016 at the Dan Hotel (Lehi St 32, Jerusalem, 97856) and bring together leading economists, government ministers and officials, prominent business people, public servants, academic experts, and other top representatives from the public and private sectors. In total, there will be 70 people sitting around the able, engaging in deep, quality discussions and delving into the most important related topics on the public agenda.

This year, the conference will focus on the challenges of government and the economy, and the influence that political stability has on the ability of the government to advance reforms and impact the performance of the business sector and the effectiveness of civil service. It will also look at the right way to integrate innovation into the government ministries, the dynamic and rapid changes of the functioning of the workforce, the collapse of the financial market, the result of people retiring at older ages, and the role business press plays in Israel.