Israel Day at the New York Stock Exchange: A Partnership of Business innovation
The annual Israel Day at the New York Stock Exchange (2011) focused on the effect of human interaction on innovation. From the ringing of the opening bell to the dedicated workshops, the full day program looked at the integration of innovation and consumer demand. Innovators in areas ranging from energy efficiency to over-the-counter consumer products presented an update on current developments and financial opportunities.
The initial panel of the day featured Ofra Strauss, Chairwoman of The Strauss Group, Mathew Bronfman, CEO of BHB Holdings and Ester Levanson, CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Market. “We build business to stay,” said Strauss. She noted that joint ventures undertaken by Strauss are created for the” long term,” many aimed at using technology to make business more transparent and better. To grow, commented Strauss,
business must make sure consumers always get the best we can give them.
Matthew Bronfman advised that the work force must be changed to match changes in technology and respond to innovation. Noting that his company’s holdings are focused on the basics that create “real cash flow” – projects such as Israel’s two new Ikea locations, – Bronfman acknowledged that, “if the price right,” his company is always open to new opportunities.
Noting that “Everyone is one phone call from the CEO,” Ester Levanson reminded the business intense audience of Israel’s connection and thus susceptibility to the movements of world markets. Marketing is a major focus of Israel’s business efforts. Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni discussed the need to identify the competitive edge and match business ability to consumer needs. He stressed the need for sensitive marketing at every level, and noted the importance of micro marketing as “a powerful tool.” He praised the ripple effect of the Birthright program, calling it one of Israel’s most effective marketing efforts to date.
Arianna Huffington joined Yossi Vardi in a discussion of entrepreneurship and communication, touching for a moment on the 3000 year shared history of Israel and Greece. Vardi chided Huffington about the current difficulties of Greece, wondering if it were some sort of payback for Greece’s early activities in Israel. Huffington, founder of the “Post” which bears her name, called the service “an aggregation of conversations.” It was initiated in 2005 and characterized by its founder as “a means of convening conversations that might not otherwise be known.”