Cyber, Nano and discovering your Ta-Ta-Ta-Tam – learning from the Start-Up Nation

Cyber, Nano and discovering your Ta-Ta-Ta-Tam – learning from the Start-Up Nation

Following the reception at the Swiss Ambassador`s Residence in Tel Aviv with HE Jean-Daniel Ruch and David Biegeleisen, the groundbreaking EMBA UZH with Focus on Digital Transformation embarked on the study program focusing on the Israeli innovation landscape including company visits and live cases with start-ups, VCs and established companies.

While day 1 of the program introduced the EMBA participants to the geopolitical and macroeconomic situation and the role Tel Aviv University plays in the innovation eco system, the following day focused on IOT, Cybersecurity and Strategic Innovation. Noga Kap from i3 Equity Partners illustrated the latest developments and applications in the Internet of Things. Following this insightful lecture Yair Cohen, the former Commander of the renown Unit8200, the Israeli Defense Force Cyber Warfare unit, gave insights into the threats posed in cyberspace and tactics on how to adopt robust strategies to safeguard digital assets.

“The Bridge” is an incubator where the companies Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz, Walmart and Turner – typically large MNCs, partner with start-ups to bring innovative new products and services to life. During a live case the founders of companies “Brandtotal” and “Personalics” engaged the EMBA UZH participants in discussions about innovation strategy, scale up and venture capital.

Priya Pawar, Vice President at SwissRe said “To meet in person these Start-up entrepreneurs at The Bridge and speaking to them about their motivation during live cases was the Differentiator – you get so close to understanding the mindset of the Israeli Innovators. They know how to benefit from their access to a global network. It was truly a profound experience! “

The following day started at Tel Aviv University with a workshop lead by Omer Pomerantz that illustrated the process of systematic ideation and creativity. The challenging session was followed by a lecture focusing on applied cases of Digital Transformation by Dan Lichtenfeld CEO at IdeoDigital. In the afternoon the EMBA participants engaged in a live case with the VP of Business Development Doron Cohadier from company “Foresight”, which brings to market infrared vision camera systems for autonomous driving and a company visit to “Rainbow Medical” in Herzliya to learn from Yuval Mandelbaum about their incubation model to bring the next generation of medical devices into global markets.

Stefan Schmid, Global Project Leader at Novartis said “It is impressive to see how Israeli start-ups combine innovation with their entrepreneurial mindset developing truly impressive diagnostic devices such as the long-term glucose-monitoring implant, which uses live cells to regenerate the sensor, showing that great inventions can also be achieved with limited budget at disposal.”    

Day 4 started with a visit to the NASDAQ listed company “Nano Dimension” and a lively discussion with the CEO Amit Dror, who shared during a live case his experiences of raising funds in the stock market and the joys and pains of running a listed start-up. Then back to the EMBA base at Tel Aviv University for a workshop with Gal Oestereicher introducing agile design processes using a “smart chair” example. Following the workshop the EMBA headed off to “Argus Cyber Security” where Monique Lance discussed the challenges of protecting connected devices from Hackers and malware.

The next day started with a cultural visit to Jerusalem and guided tour of the Old Town – which was on high alert due to Heads of states assembling for an annual Holocaust Conference in Yad Vashem. In the afternoon the group headed to the small village Nataf in the foothills of Jerusalem for a workshop with Maestro Roni Porat. One of Israel`s most distinguished orchestra conductors, Roni used his experience conducting and leading musicians to practice leadership principles in business contexts. He drew extensively on “Beethovens 5TH Symphony” and helped participants to find their own Ta-Ta-Ta-Tam – probably the most recognized 4 notes in classical music. The day ended with the awards ceremony and official dinner at a seafood restaurant in Tel Aviv.

The last day was an optional, expertly guided excursion to the Dead Sea and Masada. Floating on the mineral rich waters on the lowest elevation on land(-423m) was an impressive and enjoyable experience, while a visit to the ancient fortress of Masada alluded to the historical roots of the resilient mindset that underpins the Start-Up nation.

The visit to the innovation hotspots in Israel was the first learning expedition of the groundbreaking Executive MBA with focus on Digital Transformation. The next expeditions of this 15 months general management Executive MBA program will be to Silicon Valley and Boston, Shanghai and also innovation centers in Switzerland.

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