Global Network Faculty Gather for First ‘unConference’

September 15, 2016

Faculty and experts met during the unConference on Entrepreneurship August 28-30 at the Technion in Haifa to discuss opportunities across the Network.

Israel is world-reknowned for its innovations. It’s the country that gave the world the flash drive, the Waze navigation app, drip irrigation, seedless grapes, and robots to assist in complex vertebrae and brain surgeries. Last month Global Network faculty, students and alumni gathered in Haifa for an ‘unConference on Entrepreneurship’ hosted by the Technion to discuss ways to leverage the Global Network in the teaching of entrepreneurship and innovation at Global Network schools.

The event was led and organized by Miriam Erez, Mendes France Chair of Management and Economics at the Technion, and a committee of faculty including Ryan Schill, INCAE professor and Director of the Latin American Center for Entrepreneurs; Suresh Bhagavatula, Chairperson of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development at IIMB; and Kyle Jensen, Associate Dean and Shanna and Eric Bass Director of Entrepreneurship at Yale SOM. Schill, and Edward A. Snyder, dean of Yale School of Management (SOM), who also helped to organize the event, said they were excited by developments at the conference, as were the attendees.  "This conference was incredibly beneficial. Not only did we build stronger ties among educators about entrepreneurship, but also we were able to see Israel’s ‘can do’ attitude towards entrepreneurship," says Rhonda Shrader, director of Berkeley-Haas entrepreneurship program.

Faculty discussed new ways to incorporate innovations into the Network, including a Global Network Course on entrepreneurship and a network-wide pitch competition.

Attendees learned about Israel’s keys to success and how to apply lessons from the country to other regions, including Latin America. "I was amazed at Israel’s success and I acquired some ideas of how INCAE and Latin America can learn from this success," said Schill. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, he pointed out, Israel has no oil reserves or other natural resources. The country must rely on innovation and entrepreneurship in order to sustain its economy. 

"Latin America must overcome the mindset restricting entrepreneurs when they launch a business. Latin American entrepreneurs must think globally not only to succeed in local economies but also to attain international status and build collaboration, in addition to positioning themselves among developed countries," Schill said.

One focus of discussion was Israeli entrepreneurs’ ability to deal with failure and learn from that experience to develop new ideas. "The attitude here is that failure is always constructive," Schill said. "Despite difficulties, you do not hear people complain. There is a great Hebrew word that explains Israel’s business attitude: abracadabra.

"This is a word commonly known as part of magicians’ speech, but it actually means that ‘your dream will be fulfilled, if desired’ or ‘where there is a will, there is a way,’ which is an attitude that we must replicate in Latin America," Schill said.

Entrepreneurship in Latin America was also a topic at the event. Representatives from Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space encouraged Latin American leaders to create initiatives to encourage further research and development. This will lead to innovation and will boost business opportunities for all Latin Americans, especially those living far away from capital cities, Schill said.