When the Start-Up Nation Matures

A Publication of the 2013 Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society

  • Publication Date:
  • Center: Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society

On November 6–7, 2013, IDI will convene the second Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society. Formerly known as the Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum, the conference fosters open discussion between senior government decision-makers and leading figures in academia, the non-profit sector, and the business world. The event will be broadcast live on the IDI website in both Hebrew and English.

This booklet was prepared in advance of the conference by a working group of researchers who explored the topic of "innovation" for a session entitled "When the Start Up Nation Matures."


The Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society is made possible by the generosity of
The Dalia and Eli Hurvitz Foundation.

The Vision: Positioning Israel as a Leading Global Center of Innovation

An expanding knowledge revolution with increasing penetration into all economic sectors is generating dramatic changes in fields such as health, agriculture, education, and transportation. These developments portend great promise for economic and social advancement. This trend poses a double challenge for Israel to:

  • Maintain the state's competitiveness in the developing knowledge economy.
  • Expand the level of innovation throughout the economy and ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.

To meet these challenges, Israel must leverage its unique attributes. A small economy, cultural affinity to innovation, and status of the national system of innovation combine to offer a solid foundation for Israel's positioning as a leading center of global innovation. When world-wide players (countries, companies, researchers, investors, and NGOs) seek a location to develop and test innovative solutions, Israel will be a competitive choice. This innovation supportive environment will have global and national importance in ensuring broad economic growth and sustainable development, contributing to Israel's global competitiveness and geopolitical impact.

An Innovation Supportive Environment:  A Condition for Economic Growth and Improved Quality of Life

An innovation environment does not develop on its own. Breakthroughs in fields such as health, education, transportation, energy, environment, and agriculture require the development of a proactive environment that encourages innovation. These supportive elements include policies and regulations, availability of infrastructure and R&D funding, trial market, and the effective integration of consumers, researchers, developers and government officials; with continuous assessment, updating, and adjustment.

Figure 1:  Essential Components for an Effective Innovation Environment

Formulate Objectives and Define the Innovation Process:  Operational Recommendations

To compete, Israel must act on three primary levels:

  1. Adopt a unified vision for a national system of innovation. Advancing this vision will enable Israel's positioning as a leading global innovation center based on core capacity as part of the global value chain in fields such as health, education, transportation, and the environment. This positioning will serve to ensure comprehensive and sustainable progress, contributing to global competitiveness and promoting Israel in the geopolitical arena.
  2. Revise the perception of policy and development of innovation support systems. An innovation environment does not emerge on its own. The capacity for breakthroughs requires the development of a proactive network to support innovation that includes policy and regulation, availability of infrastructure and R&D funding, initial trial market, and effective integration between users, researchers, developers, government officials and NGOs. Historically, Israel has extended R&D support to academia, industry, and defense. There is no source for the promotion of an innovation environment for all sectors with enhanced infrastructure. For Israel to introduce the next generation to the field of international cooperation and realize this process, an action committee is needed to recommend mechanisms and institutions to support development of innovation networks. Examples of these include the appointment of a senior management-level team close to innovation networks that will oversee development activities, establish a training program for managers, an office of innovation promotion, goal setting, and organizational innovation. The process must be based on the integration of international research and practice knowledge in support of the learning process from several test cases (see Recommendation 3).
  3. Promotion of test cases. In the short term, there is leverage in existing processes and in developing innovation networks in areas of national need while undergoing a paradigm shift on the global level. These fields include health, education, agriculture, and innovation in the urban space. However, due to the lack of a systematic government strategy and process, there is no intention in this document to recommend specific areas of development. The purpose of test cases mentioned here is to support the expanding concept of policy and to advance the vision of Israel as a leading center for global innovation.

Head: Dr. Leonid Bakman, Founder and Executive Director, Israel Innovation Institute


  • Ms. Zika Abzuk, Business Development Manager, Cisco
  • Mr. Yarom Ariav, Chairman, Lavi Capital; Former Director General, Ministry of Finance
  • Major Gen. (Res.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, Chairman, Israel National Council for R&D; Head of Security Studies Program, Tel Aviv University
  • Prof. Arnon Bentur, Vice President and Director General, Technion; Head of Technion International School
  • Dr. Orna Berry, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, EMC Center of Excellence, Israel
  • Prof. Haim Bitterman, Chief Medical Officer, Clalit Health Services
  • Prof. Gili Drori, Department of Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Innovation Institute
  • Prof. Zvi Eckstein, Dean, The School of Economics, The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya – IDC
  • Mr. Sami Friedrich, Managing Director, Shaldor
  • Prof. Ehud Gazit, Chief Scientist, Ministry of Science, Technology & Space
  • Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, Head of Research and Planning, National Insurance Institute of Israel
  • Prof. Eugene Kandel, Head of the National Economic Council, Prime Minister’s Office
  • Mr. Kalman Kaufman, Chairman, Israel Innovation Institute
  • Mr. Alex Kornhauser, Israel Innovation Institute; former CEO, Intel, Israel
  • Prof. Zvi Livneh, Dean, Faculty of Biochemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Mr. Boaz Mamo, Projects Director, Israel Innovation Institute
  • Mr. Dan Marom, Researcher, lecturer, and consultant; Israel Innovation Institute
  • Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron, Vice-chair, Council for Higher Education
  • Ms. Evgeniya Mogilevskaya, Research Director, Israel Innovation Institute
  • Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director General, National Insurance Institute of Israel
  • Ms. Rinat Moshe, Analyst, Israel Innovation Institute
  • Mr. Amir Naiberg, CEO, Yeda, Weitzmann Institute of Science
  • Mr. Yaron Neudorfer, CEO, Social Finance Israel
  • Mr. Netanel Oded, Economist, National Economic Council, Prime Minister’s Office
  • Prof. Amalya Oliver, Department of Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Innovation Institute
  • Dr. Shlomi Parizat, Economic Consultant, Israel Innovation Institute
  • Mr. Micha Perlman, Manager of Higher Education and R&D Sector, Budget Division, Ministry of Finance
  • Mr. David Perlmutter, Executive Vice President, Chief Product Officer, Intel
  • Mr. Haim Rousso, Executive Vice President for Engineering and Technology Excellence, Elbit Systems
  • Prof. Uri Shani, SVP, Novel Technologies in Agriculture, Makhteshim Agan
  • Mr. Yoav Shlush, Co-chairman, IATI-Israel Advanced Technology Industries; Managing Partner, Aviv Ventures
  • Mr. Shoel Silver, Chief Executive Officer, The Metrontario Group, Toronto, Canada
  • Erez Vigodman, President and CEO, Makhteshim Agan Group
  • Mr. Dan Vilenski, Entrepreneur, Owner of Dan Vilenski Entrepreneurship
  • Mr. Avner Warner, Director of Economic Development, Tel Aviv Global &Tourism, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality
  • Prof. Shimon Yankelevitch, School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University
  • Prof. Arie Zaban, Chemistry Department, Bar-Ilan University
  • Mr. Roni Zehavi, Serial Entrepreneur, Israel Innovation Institute