Guestpost: Israeli flavor at “Innovation Clusters Conference” at @NYUEngelberg


Innovation Clusters Conference at NYU School of Law

Guestpost by Anne Hasset, Engelberg Center at NYU Law; Fred Rein and Rivka Jungreis contributing.

Why are some places in the world so much more advanced as centers of innovation than others? What does it take for a region to become a hub for innovation? These questions were the subject of discussion at a conference held at NYU School of Law on February 26, 2016. Jointly sponsored by the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU Law School and the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the conference gathered experts from around the world to consider how regional clusters of innovation develop and mature.

The academic and entrepreneurial experts at the conference agreed that since the 1990s Israel has evolved into a prime example of a successful regional cluster with an increasingly global reach. Among the factors recognized as contributing to Israel’s success as “Start-up Nation” are proactive government policies as well as cultural attitudes, like openness to criticism and the notion that “no is not an option,” coupled with the inherent tendency of Israelis to network. As noted by Professor Zur Shapira, NYU Stern School of Business, there are few degrees of separation among citizens of that small country: nearly everyone knows someone in common, fostering an environment conducive for sharing information and mentoring, two factors which nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Israel Shamay, representing the Office of the Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Economy, observed how over time the Israeli government has became adept at knowing when to implement policies to favor R&D and the growth of start-ups and when to step back and let the dynamics between entrepreneurs and the market take the lead. The Technion’s Adam Shwartz described how that technological institute, in partnership with Cornell University, is exporting its entrepreneurial expertise to New York City, helping to transform the “Big Apple” into an urban center of innovation.

Finally, Amir Orad, a successful Israeli entrepreneur and CEO of Sisense, explained how Israelis are now currently scaling up their companies to become global entities while endeavoring to maintain Israeli ownership and management.


Fiona Murray (Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management) gave the conference keynote address. Other speakers include Dan Breznitz (Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs, U. Toronto); Philip Budden (Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management);
Bhaven Sampat, (Professor, Columbia Univ. and NYU Wagner School of Public Service (visiting)); Jeffrey Dachis (Founder, ONE DROP; Co-Founder & former CEO, Razorfish); Michael Burstein (Professor, Cardozo School of Law); Frank Rimalovski (Executive Director, NYU Entrepreneurial Institute); and David Rose (CEO, Gust, Rose Tech Ventures).

Teva Pharmaceuticals was the lead conference sponsor. Amster Rothstein & Ebenstein LLP and Goodwin Procter LLP also were sponsors.


Anne Hasset is the Executive Director of the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, NYU School of Law.

She can be reached at

Israel Trade & Economic Office