The Positive Attitude toward Failure in the Culture of Israeli Innovation
Business practices and behavior in any culture is largely connected to the cultural mindset in general. Israeli society has a positive attitude toward failure; Israelis see a person who has failed as someone who has tried. In business, they know that entrepreneurs learn and gain from past unsuccessful experiences on the road to eventual success.
As an Israeli who researches her own culture, I am used to hearing Israeli businesspeople speak freely about both their failures and their successes in the global business world. I find it most instructive, however, to hear how other people view us.
I recently interviewed an NYU student who has been living in Israel for the last eight months as part of his NYU Tel Aviv program. When I asked about his most enriching experience in terms of the cultural gap, he said:
“During my stay in Israel, I have met a few entrepreneurs, and I reached the conclusion that in the Israeli innovation culture, failure is considered a good thing. That is quite different from other cultures, such as China, because in other cultures people hide their failures. In Israel I’ve learned that the real key to success is to be proud of failure, as it is a good opportunity to learn from experience.”
You can find part of the recorded interview in YouTube.
The YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGUFZFjUD-w
In such a risky environment, where only a small percentage of start-up companies “make it,” entrepreneurs must hold on to optimism. A major part of optimism is embracing your mistakes and failed attempts. Entrepreneurs are always looking for excitement and are willing to take chances. This kind of risk acceptance is another reason why Israel has so many successful startup companies.
Entrepreneurs believe that no product can come to life risk-free. True innovation requires a trial-and-error process, so taking a calculated risk is an essential part of the process. And failure is an opportunity for learning; not a cause for embarrassment or something to be concealed, but quite the contrary.
Anyone interested in better understanding Israeli business culture, its roots and characteristics, is invited to purchase the book Israeli Business Culture on Amazon. This practical book combines background information with real-life anecdotes and recommendations for good cross-cultural communication.
Read more about the author of the book and the blog, Osnat Lautman, and the services offered by the company OLM Consulting, at the website www.olm-consulting.com.