The focus to achieving high-value economic growth should be on developing economic development, with technology innovation being an important outcome and pillar of a well-developed ecosystem.
By Renata Bernarde, Founder and Director, Pantala
I first met Amir Eldad in 2017. I was the second hire of the then brand-new Enterprise Portfolio, created by Monash University to enhance and develop new and existing industry partnerships across the university. Amir was already a consultant working with some of the University’s departments and institutes. His expertise lies in supporting corporations, governments and universities in developing “internationally connected entrepreneurial ecosystems”. This grouping of words may be new to you, but it makes sense: if you read it again, it is certainly clearer than saying he is an “innovation” consultant. The “I” word gets thrown around so much that we are forever chasing it without a clear strategy. Well let me tell you: Amir has a strategy, and people should listen.
The entrepreneurial ecossystem model
“You build a coalition that includes large corporations, startups, investors universities and the right government interventions, and you have your entrepreneurial ecosystem”. According to Amir, by adopting this stakeholder model to support innovation, you are very likely to achieve economic growth, create high-value products and services that would, in Australia’s case, decrease our over-reliance in the mining and resources sector.
Amir and I bonded over our passion entrepreneurialism and our intellectual interest in innovation. We believe in cultural interventions, and over many years we have seen and experienced how strategic plans without a high degree of care and cultivation of the right culture can hinder strategies developed by leaders with good intentions. Sometimes a narrow focus on technology innovation that does not take into account the ecosystem that sustains it, can even make the expensive strategy move the organisation backwards. It’s a disaster when an ecosystem approach is not taken seriously.
Amir spoke last month to a group of guests and clients of Pantala. The sentiment during and following his presentation was unanimously positive about the topic, and unsure about how Australia will find its way in achieving the environment, activity, and support necessary for innovation to grow consistently and sustainably.
So how does Amir define a successful innovation ecosystem? “Typically, the innovation ecosystem occurs in a large metropolitan area, where startups, investors, universities and large corporations can co-exist, and government offers a level of support for the formation and growth of this environment.”
Israel: The Startup Country
Despite working all over the world, Amir lives in Israel, which offers one of the best examples of this innovation model. The country has invested heavily in supporting startups and innovation since the Yozma program was established in the 1980s – a venture capital fund that boosted early-stage, high-potential and high-risk startups. “Today there are over six thousand startups in Israel at any given time” says Amir. This in turn attracts multi-national corporations to establish themselves in the country, and pursue R&D in Israel. According to Amir, the establishment of multinationals in Israel has also been the outcome of global mobility of Israelis who studied and worked overseas and opened subsidiaries of their employers in Israel when they wanted to return home. Amir also mentioned the one degree of separation that makes connections between inventors and mentors, investors and partners a much easier pursuit. The outcome is a then a heavily concentrated precinct where there is much invention, innovation and research activity happening that the system “feeds itself”; that’s when you know it is an ecosystem.
Corporate Entrepreneurial Ecossystems
Amir has taken this model and implemented successful innovation ecosystems for clients such as large multi-national corporations, helping them link their entrepreneurs spread world-wide, and develop the right culture and supportive environment for them to flourish and impact the rest of the organisation: ”it’s like implementing a startup mentality inhouse” he says “to achieve a holistic ecosystem approach you don’t have to rely on all five pillars, you can generate the environment yourself. It has been done in many innovative organisations. The necessary ingredients are critical mass, momentum and focus on achieving economic development; not innovation for innovation’s sake. And most importantly for Australia, it is important to seek international connectivity. Being part of the global conversation about your area of R&D is crucial.”
Pantala is excited about collaborating with Amir and his firm A2E Partners in Australia in general and Victoria in particular; for more information, please contact Pantala on +61 402 522 658 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Renata Bernarde, Founder and Managing Director at Pantala