Innovation is the catchword on everyone's lips. Israel in particular is considered to be one of the world's leading ecosystems for startups and new technologies. This year's German-Israeli Young Leaders Exchange, held under the theme "inspiring innovation", focused on the basic conditions needed for a successful innovation ecosystem, as well as on innovation's impact on the economy and society.
In late October, 26 young German and Israeli professionals and leaders from the business, political, civil-society and media sectors gathered for a return meeting in Israel. The group included successful young entrepreneurs from both countries, start-up executives, department heads from German federal-state ministries and representatives of leading media organizations.
Following an opening workshop on the topic of leadership, the participants engaged in an intensive exchange program. In this way, they learned about the specific factors underlying the Israeli innovation ecosystem's success, but also came to understand its challenges. Of particularly great interest due to their potential transferability were initiatives designed to activate members of population groups who have not previously been well integrated into startup-nation Israel's talent pool, such as Arabs, ultra-orthodox Jews and women.
Participants additionally met with policymakers including Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and Bundesrat President and Rhineland-Palatinate Minister President Malu Dreyer for an exchange of ideas. The focus was on the future shape of German-Israeli relations.
The intensive discussion between the Young Leaders clearly showed the strength of the interest in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation. At the same time, questions on how to deal with urgent societal challenges were also discussed. And finally, a number of joint German-Israeli start-up initiatives were inaugurated.