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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

Global Competitiveness Report Gives Israel High Marks for Innovation [video]

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Each year, the World Economic Forum releases its Global Competitiveness Report, examining data on the soundness, resilience, sophistication and innovation of businesses in each country to compile evaluations of the economy of 138 countries, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

The 2016-2017 edition highlights that declining openness is threatening growth and prosperity. It also highlights that monetary stimulus measures such as quantitative easing are not enough to sustain growth and must be accompanied by competitiveness reforms. Final key finding points to the fact that updated business practices and investment in innovation are now as important as infrastructure, skills and efficient markets.

“Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

On the Global Competitiveness Index for 2016–2017, Israel is ranked in 24th place, behind Switzerland, Singapore, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong and Japan, and directly behind Ireland in 23rd place. In last year’s report, Israel was ranked 27th. UAE in 16th place and Qatar in 18th are the other two Middle Eastern countries in the top 25, but for Qatar the ranking represents a 4-point drop from last year’s report.

Among other areas, the World Economic Forum looks at innovation, taking into account the quality of scientific research, company spending on Research and Development, ties between academia and industry, the number of patents, and the number of engineers and scientists in each country. In the index for innovation and sophistication factors, Israel is ranked in 2nd place (the US is 4th), with Switzerland in first place.

In innovation capacity, Israel is 9th, Switzerland 1st, the US 6th.

In business dynamism, Israel is ranked 19th, right behind Canada (the US is in first place, Germany 10th).

The most problematic factors for doing business in Israel, according to the report (in descending order): inefficient government bureaucracy, high tax rates, policy instability, an inadequately educated workforce, problems in access to financing, excessive tax regulations, and restrictive labor regulations.

Israel’s least problematic issues: little corruption (who would have thunk, right?), capacity to innovate (there’s plenty), work ethic in national labor force (Israelis work like horses), crime and theft (very low), inflation (non-existent), and public health (Israel has one of the best public health programs in the West).

According to the International Monetary Fund, Israel’s GDP is $296.1 billion, GDP per capita $35,343.3

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to experience significant instability in geopolitical and economic terms as spillover effects from the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen are undermining economic progress in the entire region.

Instability is also being created by the uncertain future of energy prices after recent falls, which affect the region’s countries in different ways. Oil-exporting countries—which include Algeria (87th), Bahrain (48th), the Islamic Republic of Iran (76th), Kuwait (38th), Oman (66th), Qatar (18th), Saudi Arabia (29th), the United Arab Emirates (16th), and Yemen (138th)—are experiencing lower growth, higher fiscal deficits, and rising concerns about unemployment. Growth in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies averaged 5.2 percent between 2000 and 2012, but fell to 2.5 percent in 2015. The forecast for 2016 is also 2.5 percent, and rising oil supplies are  expected to keep prices low and limit growth expectations for the coming years.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu, Australian PM, Share Views on Innovation, Aussie Cavalry Charge

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York, and the Israeli PM’s office released the following exchange between them:

Netanyahu: “It’s always a pleasure to see you. You’re a great friend of Israel. Australia and Israel have a solid friendship and I’m looking forward to coming to visit Australia. And I’m looking forward to seeing you in Israel soon.”

Turnbull: “Very good. Well, Lucy [Turnbull] was there earlier this year. We’ve launched our first innovation center there with you. Really, the start-up nation has been great inspiration to our whole innovation agenda. So our innovation launch pad is there and we will see a lot more collaboration between Australian and Israeli innovators and financiers. It’s a very important step. As you know, that’s the way you have to stay ahead in the 21st century – you have to innovate, to take on the challenges of technology and bring the imagination to bear on technology. That’s how you secure prosperity.”

Netanyahu: “I agree. I think the future belongs to those who innovate. We both have innovative nations and we can do a lot more together than we can separately. And also, we owe you one for the Australian troops and the liberation of our country from the Ottoman Empire. That was a great event. I think it was the last cavalry rush in history.”

Turnbull: “The last cavalry charge – that’s right, in Be’er Sheba.”

Netanyahu: “You have to come and see it.

Turnbull: “I will. I’ll do that. I look forward to coming back.”

David Israel

Israel Innovation Authority ‘Luring’ Academics, Entrepreneurs Back to Israel [video]

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The Israel Innovation Authority’s program to return academics, in its effort to bring high quality human capital back to Israel, recently launched a new program intended to help Israeli entrepreneurs and academics abroad return to Israel and acclimate to Israel’s industry and academia. Called the “mentor program,” it brings together academics who wish to return to Israel with “mentors” – representatives of companies working with the Israel Innovation Authority and academics who returned to Israel over the years with the help of the program. The latter share from their own experience returning home and settling into the workforce and research environments.

According to Dr. Nurit Eyal, director of the program to return academics, “every year, hundreds from academia and industry return to Israel, fulfilling a desire to come back home and find employment appropriate to their education and skills. We help many return and contribute their know-how and skills to the Israeli economy and society. This has had a growing impact on Israel’s scientific leadership in the world.”

In addition to the guidance from mentors, the program also opened a Facebook group, entitled “Returning to Israel – a friend brings a friend to jobs in the industry,” intended to enable the community of veteran returnees to help recent arrivals find work, and to help the companies where they work absorb more high quality employees returning from abroad. This, in addition to the group “Returning to Israel – Questions and Answers,” that has been highly successful helping returnees with their day-to-day questions related to returning to Israel, is creating a community, and more.

The program to return academics also offers other benefits like personal guidance, help with job searches in conjunction with more than 340 companies and guidance in areas such as resume building, and career guidance workshops.

The International Geek PicNic Festival in Jerusalem, run by Innovative Israel.

David Israel

Innovation in Jewish Education – “Investing in the Jewish Future”

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

For years, Jewish education has been searching for a means to inspire, to innovate, and redefine the standard curriculum to engage the next generation of Jews.

Schools across the Jewish spectrum have received constant pressure to re-package and teach classic content in a style that speaks to the students. The fast-pace of today’s technology is forcing educators and the institutions they represent to connect, and to remain relevant.

There are sparks of a burgeoning renaissance in the field of Jewish education. Among the leaders in the groundbreaking initiative are Yeshiva University, who has begun to offer an Experiential Education Certificate to offer Jewish leaders a new set of tools with which to transform teaching material. The premise of the certificate is to encourage the educator to tap into creative, less formal teaching styles that can present the materials in a new light.

The Mayberg Family Foundation is hosting this week (June 1-2) its annual Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) retreat. In contrast to the slow process of traditional funding, the Mayberg innovation challenge more closely resembles a Jewish education version of a “pitch night.” At the retreat, finalists have 12 minutes to pitch their projects to a panel of judges, (think “Shark Tank”), who have then discuss and question them. All participants and audience members are invited to access all elements of the grant applications in Mayberg’s Guidebook app, opening the process to the public. Winners will receive notice and a $50,000 grant later this month. Manette Mayberg, trustee of the foundation, views their refreshing funding style as “Investing in the Jewish future.”

This year’s Lead Facilitator at the retreat is Aryeh Ben David, an innovator in education, founder of Ayeka and their “Soulful Education” method. The Soulful Education methodology works with existing schools’ educators and curriculum, but with a new approach to both that changes the emphasis of Judaic Studies from amassing knowledge to processing information for personal transformation and growth.

The argument made is that the innovation needed in Jewish Education is to replace the traditional information accumulation model with one that uses Jewish wisdom as a means to personalization and internalization for teacher and students alike.

The organization’s has recently received grants for the coming school year from The Avichai Foundation, Lippman-Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, and The Kohelet Foundation for a “start up” program that will provide training, mentoring and ongoing work with 18 faculty members from three Day Schools for an extensive 10-month training period.

“Ayeka isn’t changing the what or the who so much, but rather the how. Jewish educators are being presented with an opportunity to transform the way we reach Jewish learners, not just through conveying information, but by having the students personalize their learning and bring it into their lives.” Ayeka sees its paradigm shifting, unapologetically open approach as a necessary step for improving Jewish education.

While Mayberg places the responsibility on the schools to work and change from within, some more grassroot, independent projects are approaching Jewish education from the perspective of an outsider or consultant.

Shinui is a network of six organizations focused on innovation in the “part time” education sector, such as Sunday school, JCCs, adult education classes and more. While they are not dealing with full time day school, they are challenging boundaries in the non-orthodox world. Collaboration based, they are using platforms of engagement to effect 6 different geographical areas, from Houston to San Francisco.

Kevah, a self-described DIY project, invests in a ground-up educational group. To start a new chapter, a local host convenes a group of learners interested in a certain topic, and then Kevah provides them with an educator, administrative platform, and a curriculum which matches their style. It is up to the group to continue their learning. Their method banks on group dynamics and commitment to make learning a source of enrichment rather than a chore.

When seeking answers to the need for innovation in traditional learning, pioneers are finding communities and learners most responsive when they educate and inspire the personal and spiritual connections each individual forms with Judaism. Recognizing the imperative of continuing Jewish life, they are pushing into the world of the informal and spiritual realms, emphasizing fresh approaches in an effort to disrupt the status quo and keep the Jewish future bright.

Ayeka training retreat in Glencove, NY (

Ayeka training retreat in Glencove, NY (

Rachel Moore

Rabinowitz on Cutting-Edge Innovation

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai presents audio from the Stanford Entrepreneurial Series with great innovator Matthew Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz talks about current innovation in the world and how, with his background in technology, he has created technology that has innovates in the world of prenatal and preconception informatics-based genetic testing.

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Moshe Herman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/radio/yishai-fleisher-on-jewishpress/rabinowitz-on-cutting-edge-innovation/2013/10/20/

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