Gordon Tours Israel Blog

6 Reasons Israel is an Innovation Leader

Icon November 11, 2018
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Israel may be geographically small, but it is BIG on innovation. The country exudes entrepreneurial spirit, with a global ranking of #1 in research and development expenditure and #1 in venture capital investments, both as percentages of the country’s overall GDP. Hundreds of leading multinational corporations are currently active in Israel and even more exciting start-ups launch in the Holy Land each year.

Here are 6 reasons why Israel is an innovation leader:

Many innovative technologies were invented in Israel

DIsk On Key

Did you know that Israel invented drip irrigation technology? Mobile disease diagnostic systems? The PillCam, what is now known as the golden standard for intestinal visualization? Well, how about the Disk-on-key? Israel is responsible for the development of many innovative technologies, currently used around the world. From saving lives to making everyday activities more seamless and efficient, Israel’s innovators and their inventions are paving the way to a more promising future.

Israel loves to develop – but knows when to exit

Known for its high-quality and future-forward status, Israeli inventions are often sought after – and bought, by leading global companies. For example, Google paid $1.1 billion for the Israeli-developed Waze GPS-based navigation app, earning Israel global recognition and a significant ROI. As more and more Israeli start-ups continue to emerge, so are the number of large exits being recorded. In total, between 2012 and 2016, Israeli startups were sold to other companies or through IPOs for over $47 billion – and that number only continues to grow.

The government believes in its innovators

The Israeli government spends more than any other developed country on research and development. Partnerships between the country’s private and public sectors fuel experimentation and innovation. One remarkable initiative is the Technological Incubators Program by the Israel Innovation Authority. First set up in 1991, the program currently includes 24 incubators: 22 in technology, one in industrials and one in biotech– mostly privatized through public tenders. Startups are incubated for two years with funding of $500,000 to $800,000, only to be paid back once the startup begins generating revenues.

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Israeli industries value book smarts AND street smarts

Book Smarts

Israel’s workforce is highly educated and multi-cultural – but that doesn’t mean only degree holders can make it big in the Innovation Nation. In fact, those who exhibit street smarts and a little Israeli “chutzpah” can often succeed and realize their innovative ideas. And even among those who did complete college, many wind up working in industries completely unrelated to the subject they studied.

“Open Innovation” is becoming a valuable asset

Recent years have seen a surge in “open innovation” in Israel; companies are looking to external research, development and other services to help drive their innovative plans forward, without necessitating long, tedious and expensive hiring and training processes. Organizations benefit from innovative minds and implementers, while the world gains more advancements, far faster than ever before.

In Israel, everyone is connected and “protexia” is key


Familiar with the term “six degrees of separation?” In Israel, it’s more like one degree of separation between two people. As the country is small, most citizens either serve in the IDF or complete National Service volunteering, then attend a far smaller number of institutions of higher education than people from larger countries. It is therefore easy to find connections between nearly anyone. It goes without saying that it’s a lot easier to push your innovative ideas to realization when you can call on an acquaintance and use a little “protexia” (lit. protection, an inside connection) to get your foot in the door.

The bottom line

Israel is a true innovation leader. Have an innovative idea in mind? Maybe it’s time to visit Israel and lead the next great innovation to fruition while surrounding yourself with some of the top drivers of the Start-up Nation.

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