Israel's public social welfare and health organizations are among the most innovative and creative in Europe, according to research conducted and published this week by a team of professors from the University of Haifa's Graduate School of Management. The study, carried out at the behest of the European Union to determine what makes an organization or a company successful and forward thinking, examined a range of health institutions and non-government welfare organizations in nine European countries - Britain, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway and Spain and Israel. Looking at the traits that affect organizational innovativeness - openness to change, risk-taking, future-orientation, creativity and pro-activeness - the researchers revealed that Israeli organizations led the way in three of the five areas and finished second in two of them. "I was not really surprised that Israeli public organizations scored high," commented Dr. Ayalla Ruvio, who together with Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, Dr. Aviv Shoham and Dr. Nitza Shuvebsky, carried out the research over the last three years. "I've had a chance to experience the public sector in other countries and Israelis always seem much more willing to learn new procedures and are in constant search for new ideas to implement." Based on the responses of more than 100 employees and managers in social welfare and health organizations in the public sector in each of the countries, the study revealed that Israeli organizations are outstanding in the areas of creativity, openness to change and focusing on future goals. Israeli organizations also scored highly when it came to risk taking and pro-activeness. Ruvio added that while Israel's high tech business sector was well known for its innovativeness, the public sphere had a lot to offer too. "These results are only the beginning of our research into what makes an organization or company innovative," she continued. "Until now, a company or organization was considered innovative depending on how many new innovations they developed but with our way of measuring it, we define innovativeness as a cultural concept. Culturally, Israelis are creative." The results of the study have already been presented and widely discussed in academic circles, said Ruvio, adding that up until now, no international studies had been conducted on this topic. "I hope that in the future, our method will be adopted as a tool to diagnose innovativeness in any organization, including commercial," she said.