One of the key drivers in Israel’s tech-driven economy is innovation. Driven by the high proportion of per capita research personnel, Israel scores high in global innovation rankings, including #15 by WIPO ( and #5 in the Bloomberg Innovation Index ( Regardless, according to IBM’s master innovator, Rick Hamilton, sustained innovation requires governments and companies to undertake policies that are open, collaborative, multi-disciplinary and global.

Rick Hamilton is an authority on innovation. He is IBM’s most prolific inventor (#33 all-time patent holder), with more than 600 US patents in services, software and hardware. He has presented about innovation and intellectual property in nearly 30 countries and will keynote this week at BrainTech Israel 2015 (

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“Technological innovation has fundamentally transformed business and will continue to do so at accelerating rates”, says Rick. “Innovation is the key to future business growth”. Despite its impact on economic growth, since the 2009 Financial Crisis, there has been a documented slowdown in the growth of corporate and national research and development, particularly in the developed world.

Rick distinguishes between winners and losers in the Innovation Economy. “For non-anchored jobs, customers and competitors can be anywhere. Businesses must leverage operational technologies to compete and cut costs. Product cannibalization is now required – If a company doesn’t improve or replace its own product, someone else will”..

Underscoring the role of intellectual property in the global economy, US investment in intangible assets (>$1T/year) now exceeds investment in tangibles. Ned Davis research quantifies 80% of the value of SAP 500 companies from Intangible Assets (

Hamilton advocates internal innovation with a corporate culture that is flat, open, collaborative and multi-disciplinary. According to a CEO’s survey commissioned by IBM, the top three sources of new ideas and Innovation were Employees, Business Partners and customers.

The changing business landscape means that growth driven by innovation should be the top CEO business priority. “There is an increased competition for ideas, with a new IP marketplace and economy emerging. IP has become a fundamental strategic issue”.

IBM is committed to enabling client innovation. Moreover, since launching the IBM Israeli R&D Center in 1972, the company has been a key player in making Israel an innovation hub. Whether at the corporate or government level, strong, collaborative intellectual property systems that encourage innovation are more important than ever.

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