Exploring Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Start-up Nation: A Glimpse of GNW in Israel

Li Li, Bo Long, & Xiaolin Hou

MBA Candidates '19

2018-03-26

Global Network Week in Israel

From Mar. 12 to Mar. 16, three delegates, Li Li, Bo Long and Xiaolin Hou, from the 2017 MBA cohort joined the exciting Global Network Week (GNW) hosted by Israel Institute of Technology (also known as Technion) in Israel, together with other 41 MBA students from around the world, including U.S., Japan, Canada, Israel, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, etc. The theme of GNW in Israel this year was “Innovation and Entrepreneurship: the Start-up Nation”. All the attendees were curious about the reason behind the Israel miracle, i.e., why a small country in the sense of both area and population can significantly contribute to the global high-tech innovation and create so many successful star-up companies. To reveal the answers, the host Technion organized a series of excellent activities, including lectures, labs and companies visit, team work and city tours.

Lectures

In the total 11 exciting lectures, some famous professors and entrepreneurs led the students go through the innovation process, how to evaluate the attractiveness of a business opportunity, how to run a start-up, the innovation eco-system in Israel, and the relationship between culture and innovation, etc. The first lecture pointed out that innovation consists of two major stages, i.e., the generation of new and useful ideas (also known as creativity) and their implementations. Furthermore, the lecturer, Prof. Miriam Erez, illustrated the journey of the idea, which is an iterative non-linear process as shown the figure below.

The journey of the idea

In the lecture of “From Quick-wins to Moon-shots: how to evaluate the attractiveness of a business opportunity?”, Dr. Sharon Tal provided one useful tool, i.e., the attractive map, in which x-axis is challenge (in capturing value) and y-axis is potential (for value creation). In each quadrant, there is one of four business opportunities, i.e., quick win, gold mine, moon shot, and questionable. Furthermore, she explained the systematic approach in details (available online: www.wheretoplay.co), which is extremely valuable when we need to compare and prioritize different opportunities.

The attractive map

In another lecture of “Culture and Innovation”, observations based on big data revealed several cultural factors that contribute to innovation, i.e., low power distance, low uncertainty avoidance, and low to moderate collectivism, which can explain the phenomenon that although Chinese students are as creative as Israeli students, the countries differ in their level of innovation. These observations may be helpful for us to think about how to design proper mechanisms in China to stimulate innovations.

Company Visits

Through labs and companies visit, the students were able to watch the Israel innovation activities in a close distance, including the robotic lab, the racing car design team, the Augury company, the Medtronic company and the Tel Aviv innovation center, etc. Firstly, based on the learning of innovation course, we were quite lucky to visit the Israel institute of robotic and formula in Technion. we had a positive discussion on its research subject with professor and students, meanwhile it also made us deepen the understanding of innovation country, showed respect for their innovative consciousness origin by blood.

Robotic and Formula labs

Secondly, we visited Augury Located in Haifa that developed device detection sensor respectively used in collecting life cycle operating data of device such as pump, motor, generator etc., and studied its intelligent product function, technical characteristics, evolution path, and target market positioning, etc., furthermore realized the coming industrial trends. Also, we had visited Medtronic that developing a sort of intelligent endoscope named Pillcam. The patient can swallow this type of capsule and check the intestinal tract. We fully realized that the development of science and technology brings a leap from the health care industry, understood the scientific and technical innovation to rewrite the meaning of industry and change the rules of the game.

Pillcam by Medtronic

Then, we went to the TAGLIT innovation center in Tel Aviv, close to listen that the innovative pioneer of Israel how to get rid of the shadow of failure, continuously innovative spirit in their whole life is worthy to be considered carefully and learned. Finally, we took a presentation from CIO and VP of Check Point, Mr. Sharon, he fully communicated about the topic of network security, also as a representative of the Israel successful startup, Check Point has been growing as a household name and standing out in many entrepreneurial teams. We had enjoyed a lot on the positive discussion with Mr. Sharon, also he gave very professional and pertinent business suggestion. Undoubtedly, labs and companies visit helped us to understand the innovative system through integrated practice in different dimension, also deeply realize the importance of innovation in the national survival and development, innovation is the national important gripper of improving global competitiveness.

Teamwork

Teamwork

One of the most important part of the program was the team project. All participants were divided in 8 groups with other students from all over the world. After the lecture ‘lean start-up’ from Mr. Rafi Mave that introduced the basic elements of a start-up and business plan, we were requested to completed a BP on our own by the end of Thursday with our new team. This was challenging as we were just met and we had only a few hours to present our BP, but it was a wonderful journey also, as we saw the difference between different culture and way of thinking all the time.

Team 1 E-business in China design

The presentations were wonderful, some wanted to make sharing bikes in Rio, some wanted to start E-business for designers in China, or a site with menus for diabetes in U.S. The winner group even made a short video, they wanted to make an APP to give recommendations on restaurants/shops based on personal preferences with the help of data mining.

Winner: personalized recommendation APPs

All presentations were reviewed by a group of judges who are professors or entrepreneurs, they commented on each one and gave us a lot of valuable advices.

City tours

In the spare time, through city tours in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the students witnessed a modern as well as classical Israel and understood the diversified culture factors consisting of this so called star-up nation.

Although one week may be not enough to fully explore this innovative country, all the attendees obtained some insightful observations and hints about Israel innovation and entrepreneurship, including its nationality, history, culture, and economic policies, etc. More importantly, all the discoveries and experience within the past GNW will be a great treasure to the attendees and continue to benefit their future study and work.

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