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Personal contact crucial in German-Israeli innovation transfer

In a December 2019 innovation exchange between Germany and Israel, Israeli startups met with German Mittelstand firms. A key insight: Personal contact is the key to success.


Israel’s innovative power is no secret today – and neither is the German Mittelstand’s need for innovation. In a pilot project managed by Israeli NGO Start-Up Nation Central, Israeli startups and German Mittelstand firms came together to work on common challenges. The Bertelsmann Stiftung evaluated the pilot project with the aim of learning more about the foundations of successful cooperation.

The evaluation showed that providing an opportunity for personal contact and in-depth discussion is critical for the success of a project of this nature. It is also important to manage participant expectations well. This is particularly vital because cooperative projects of this kind involve interactions between representatives of different business philosophies – that of the traditionally thinking Mittelstand and the dynamic startup world – as well as of different cultures. Sustainable cooperation between the two sides can develop only if organizers ensure that these factors have been taken into account.

With these and other recommendations, the report offers insights sure to be of value to anyone engaged in international innovation processes.