What Can We Learn From Israel, An Entrepreneurial Nation?

by Patrick Liew on May 18, 2017

On May 16-17, 2017, I spent time in Israel with about 100 entrepreneurs and innovators.

Although most of them were representing small and medium enterprises, I was nonetheless inspired by their entrepreneurial drives and achievements.

For a long time, I’ve been studying Israel’s development and growth.

Even even though it is a small and relatively young nation, yet it has planted a large footprint in advanced technology. It has influenced the world in many areas.

I believe there are five key lessons that we can learn from Israel to improve our entrepreneurial passions and competence.

1. Self-leadership.

The political leadership in Israel is polarized and in constant conflict.

Perhaps because of that, many of the Israelis are mindful that they cannot count on their political masters to lead them and look after them.

These people have learned to be self-reliant and creatively independent.

In addition, they have developed many personal innovations and launched various ground-up and peer-to-peer initiatives to ensure their own survival and success.

Reflection: How can we increase a healthy sense of desperation quotient to go far in life?

How can we strengthen our self-leadership, self-discipline, and self-directed ability to prepare ourselves for greater successes?

2. Culture.

The Jewish people have been subjected to thousands of years of crisis, violence and abuse.

They are still at war and are ever operationally-ready to handle major natural as well as man-made conflicts and challenges.

As a result, they know that they they cannot hold on to status quo.

They need to constantly change, improve, and press on to higher grounds for their own security, stability and sustainability.

Reflection: How can we constantly redesign, reengineer and reinvent ourselves to improve our performance and results?

3. Track Record.

The Jewish people have a commendable track record of producing achievers and achievements in almost every major field.

As a race, they have won more nobel prizes and made more scientific discoveries than many other races.

The rebirth of Israel in 1948 was in itself a modern day miracle.

How its people turned a desert land into a flourishing and progressive society is an example of effective nation-building process.

From Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Steve Ballmer, Calvin Klein, Steven Spielberg, to Sigmund Freud, the Israelis can look to many Jews as their models and pacesetters.

In many ways, success breeds even more successes.

Reflection: How can we follow and improve the pathways of successful people so that we can reach the same or even better destinations?

4. Inquiring Minds.

Many Israelis are constantly questioning, probing, and seeking root causes behind what may seem to be imponderables in life.

They are known to challenge long-held beliefs and deep-seated principles and practices.

Interestingly, if they subscribe to Judaism, they they were taught that they should learn how to question their God and religious leaders.

To many entrepreneurs, the quality of their results depends on the quantity of quality questions they pose to themselves.

By asking appropriate questions, it acts as a rudder to help them navigate through fears, doubts and uncertainties.

The desire to know the unknown and discover the undiscovered can help them expand their worldview.

It can compel them to think about the unthinkable and do the un-doable.

This iterative process of inquiries, changes, and improvements can help to develop an open innovation laboratory in their minds and life.

And also helps them achieve unique and even radical breakthroughs.

Reflection: How can we get involved with creative ideas, engagements, people and environments so that our minds will becomes fertile soil for a thousand entrepreneurial flowers to bloom?

5. Foreign Talents.

Israel has attracted talented immigrants and foreign talents from more than 70 nationalities to play an active role in its economy and marketplace.

When the the right foreign talents are effectively assimilated and integrated into the workforce, it can be a plus factor to society.

There are ample evidence to suggest that by having diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism, it can contribute to improving creativity and innovation.

These talents from different countries and cultures and who have different creeds and customs can inject and bring forth different ideas, concepts and initiatives.

And also contribute to unconventional breakthroughs and results.

Reflection: How can we reach out to different talents from all over the world to learn from them?

How can we cooperate, collaborate and co-create solutions with them?

I’m sure there are other factors that have contributed to make Israel a nation that’s known for innovations and entrepreneurship.

Suffice to say, we can continue to learn from Israel and these lessons can help us achieve greater successes in the new economy.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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