E-nnovate with Google

News and Updates

Unconscious Bias - A Second Look at First Impression

The ministry of Science, Technology and Space in cooperation with Google are now offering an Unconscious Bias Training kit.

What is Unconscious Bias?

We tend to think in patterns, and use them to process all the information we’re exposed to daily. We unconsciously make assumptions about people we encounter and later treat them based on these assumptions. Our decision making in the workplace is also influenced by this bias, resulting in bad decisions.

Workplace diversity promotes creativity and effective decision making, as well as better representation of various audiences and customers. Diverse workplaces do better both financially and socially. So diverse hiring is not only fair but also the right thing to do.

The kit contains an hour-long presentation and guidelines on how to deliver it. Feel free to download the kit and have your employees present it to your organization.

The kit draws on internal training delivered to Google employees around the world. It has been translated and adapted to Israeli workplaces by Dr. Inbal Wilmovsky.



Students Think Innovation

Students Think Innovation in the Public Sector” is a joint program of Google and Ben-Gurion University in the Negev.

This unique cooperation is designated to promote innovation in the public service. As part of the program, six teams of students led a research for eight months that included interviews with civil servants and examinations of work methods across ministries. The teams then came up with creative ideas to promote innovation in the public sector’s work through information and communications technology.

Multi-disciplinary teams of students (from Eng, CS and Management/Public Policy) were formed to allow different perspectives in each team. The teams were divided according to areas of focus: Education, Welfare, Finance, Industry, Public Safety etc.

All participants received a scholarship with winners of first and second place receiving a higher one.

The students were mentored by Googlers and other members in the Israeli tech community. Government units such as Digital Israel and Gov.il (Mimshal Zamin) contributed their time and knowledge to assist the students. Members of Parliament Manuel Trajtenberg and Gila Gamliel shared their vision about innovation in the public sector and Deputy Minister of Finance Mickey Levy explained the challenges in making the tax authority a fully digital organization.  

All six teams pitched great ideas and worked closely with the relevant government office to ensure a practical and applicable project. First place went to IWITNESS, an app which informs security agencies simultaneously in case of emergency (instead of having to call the police, ambulance, fire fighters etc.) Second place was awarded to GOVNAGISH, a team that developed a new platform aggregating all government services in one place.  

Internet policy in Israel - Towards 2015 elections

Towards the general elections that will take place on March 17th 2015 The Israeli Internet Association and Google Israel hosted a conference on Internet policy. Candidates from different parties presented their point of view and plans on related issues:

How can we leverage the internet to reduce the high cost of living in Israel?

What is the right balance between freedom of information and the right to privacy?

Is access to the internet a civic right and how to protect users without compromising principles of freedom of speech an open web?


Greetings by:

Dr. Alon Hasgal, President of the Israel Internet Association. Full video here. 

Doron Avni, Director of Public Policy, Africa, Middle-East, Turkey and Israel. Full video here

The Internet calls for cautious legislators: Opening talk by : Prof. Niva Elkin-Koren. Head of the center for law and technology, Haifa University Full video here.

A panel on the Internet and the cost of living in Israel: focused on ways to leverage the Internet for economic objectives - reducing the cost of living, narrowing social gaps and increasing competitiveness in the Israeli market.  The panel was moderated by the journalist Matan Chodorov.Participants: MK Erel Margalit, MK Mickey Levi, Adv. Merav Ben Ari, MK Gila Gamliel and MK Robert Ilatov. Click here for full video

Google Trends analysis of recent trends of search for political information - Nemo Tamir,  Head of Google Trends team. Full video here 

A panel on constitutional rights online: focused on the balance between freedom of expression, right to information and the right for privacy and protection of minors.The panel was moderated by the journalist Gal Gabai. Participants:  MK Yifat Kariv, MK Orly Levy-Abekasis, MK Yariv Levin, MK Tamar Zandberg . Click here for full video

Speech and interview with MK Tzipi Livni, moderated by the journalist Tal Schneider. Click here for full video

Speech and interview with Minister Naftali Bennett, moderated by the journalist Tal Schneider, Click here for full video

Boosting innovative government in an innovative country

cross post from Google's Europe Blog

Israel is known as the 'start-up nation'. Its private sector is one of the world's most innovative and Internet-savvy. We've recently signed an agreement with the Israeli government to encourage adoption of pro-innovation public policies, from opening up public data sets to curbing unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. The initiative aims to find ways that the Internet can improve public services and help consumers.

As part of these initiatives, Internet developers and government officials will come together regularly at our Tel Aviv Campus. At the first meeting, the two sides examined how technology can help to reduce the high cost of living in Israel. Government officials explained that they are advancing a new law to open up public data on retail prices and called on developers to create price comparison apps.

Five local startups presented their services and insights. Feex uses crowdsourcing to reduce management fees on financial products such as pension funds. My Supermarket lets consumers choose the cheapest option to order groceries online. Eloan encourages peer to peer loans.Madlan helps home buyers by showing how much an apartment was sold for, the average cost per meter in each neighborhood. Noknok gives people free calls anywhere with the same number even abroad. These sessions were inspired by a Google-finance study called E-nnovate Israel. Researchers conducted 100 interviews with leading figures in the public, business, non-profit and academic sectors and concluded that government and private business need to work more closely together in order to promote innovation and economic growth. We hope that future sessions will be just as informative and useful for both the technology entrepreneurs and for officials. Both sides share the same ultimate goal - to use technology to ease interactions with government and improve lives.

Amit Lang, Director General of the Ministry of Economy, talking at "Meet the Gov" event at Campus Tel Aviv

memorandum of understanding to advance innovation in the public sector

Google and the government of Israel signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic cooperation to advance innovation in the public sector. Minister of Finance, Yair Lapid, and Google Israel’s CEO, Meir Brand, signed an MOU that will act as a framework for strategic cooperation between the government, led by the governmental CIO and Google Israel. This is not a commercial agreement of any kind, rather a knowledge sharing MOU.

This MOU was formulated as part of the recognition of the importance of technology to the accessibility of government information and services, to reduce the bureaucratic burden, to improve government services to citizens and businesses, and for economic growth. The MOU will set the groundwork for cooperation in fields such as: advancing technological innovation, advancing the idea of open government, e-gov services, advancing local startups and more. The sides will exchange ideas and researches and advance projects such as:

Meet the Gov - Government-Developers meetings that will be a platform for startups to interact with the public sector, learn about its challenges and inspire future developments. Google Campus TLV will host meetings of representatives from the public sector and local startups for fruitful discussion that encourages implementation of innovation in the public sector. In addition, professional training will take place in Campus TLV for governmental developers in areas such as: Cloud computing, Mobile Web, HTML5, Android etc.

Public Database - The government of Israel is operating the website data.gov.il which contain public open datasets for the good of the public. the governmental CIO operates to add new datasets that can spur new public services, and will be assisted by Google’s international experience in this issue to learn from case studies from around the world. In addition, Google will assist with researches that advance innovation, such as the way governments around the world deal with the challenges of the digital age and the need to make government services compatible with many browsers and devices.

Innovative thinking for the public sector- As a part of the dialogue between Google Israel and the government, Google is advancing a cooperation with Ben-Gurion University to launch a new scholarship program to students who will present innovative technological ideas in the public sector.

Minister of Finance, Lapid and Google Israel's CEO, Brand

The Israeli Government has decided to promote a new national initiative - "Digital Israel"

Further to Government Decisions No. 2024, from July 15, 2010;  No. 2949, from March 6, 2011, and No. 5122 from September 20, 2012, regarding the nationwide deployment of an advanced communications network, and in order to promote economic growth, enhance social welfare and minimize social divides through the use of  Information Communication Technology, in consideration of all the relevant infrastructures required in order to achieve these goals, and to formulate national policies for the use and application of information communication technology (hereinafter:  the "Digital Israel" national initiative), the main objectives of which are: development of innovation and delivery of new and high quality public services fit for the 21st century, including remote services, in fields such as: education, health and welfare; the implementation of technological tools in small and medium enterprises and encouraging commerce; the sharing of governmental information and knowledge and the use of online means for improving and streamlining the service provided to citizens, through the reduction of bureaucracy.

The national initiative will address the upgrading of infrastructure for achieving these goals, including: creating an advanced, reliable and safe digital environment for the use of Israeli citizens (including information security systems and identification systems); fostering human capital, encouraging the information communication technology industry and promoting digital literacy among the public.

All as detailed below:

1.      An interdepartmental steering committee for the "Digital Israel" national initiative

A.    An interdepartmental steering committee will be established, to be headed by the Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, with the participation of the Director General of the Ministry of Communications, the Director General of the Ministry of Finance, the Director General of the Ministry of Defense, the Director General of the Ministry of the Economy, the Director General of the Ministry of Education, the Director General of the Ministry of Health, the Director General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Director General of the Ministry of the Interior, the Director General of the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, the Director General of the Ministry of Science, the Director General of the Ministry of Technology and Space, the Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, the Director of Budgets Department at the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance, the head of the National Cyber Bureau, the head of the National Economic Council, the Commissioner of Government ICT,  the Commissioner of Biometric Applications, the head of the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority ("ILITA"), the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of the Economy and the director generals of other ministries, as may become appropriate and/or necessary.

B.     The steering committee shall draw up a national digital policy, approve a multi-year work program (the "National Digital Program") and other annual work plans related thereto.

C.     The steering committee will report periodically to the Prime Minister on the progress of the project.

2.      Coordinating Headquarters for the "Digital Israel" national initiative

A.    A headquarters for coordinating the "Digital Israel" national initiative shall be established in the Prime Minister's Office (hereinafter: the "Coordinating Headquarters").

B.     The roles of the Coordinating Headquarters will be:

     i.   Formulation of a national digital program, in collaboration with the Government ICT Unit and other relevant ministries and entities.

     ii.   Coordinating the steering committee's professional work.

     iii.   Supporting horizontal application throughout the government: coordinating the work of the various ministries while creating the necessary partnerships between them, supporting the ministries' implementation teams in formulating the ministries' implementation programs and supervising and monitoring of their performance.

     iv.   Securing the assistance of external consultants for the benefit of the government and the various ministries, and forming cooperation relationships with the domestic and international business sector.

     v.     Coordination and management of "round table" discussions and think tanks for the purpose of creating a permanent dialogue between the government departments, the business sector and the third sector in order to solve economic and social problems through the use of information communication technologies.

      vi.   Annual reporting on the progress of the project to the senior professional forum for strategic planning, pursuant to Government Decision No. 5208, dated November 4, 2012.

       vii.  There is nothing in the foregoing to detract from the executive powers vested in the Government ICT Unit under Government Decision No. 3058, dated March 27, 2011.

3.      Departmental implementation teams

A.    Within 30 days of the date of the Decision, departmental implementation teams will be set up by the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Welfare and Social Services and the Ministry of the Economy (including small and medium businesses). Other departmental implementation teams will be established in accordance with the departments' wishes and in coordination with the steering committee.  

B.     The departmental implementation teams will be appointed by the director general of the relevant ministry and will work in collaboration with the Coordinating Headquarters. The department's Chief Information Officer will be a member of the departmental implementation team.

C.     The departmental implementation teams will formulate a departmental program for realizing the potential inherent in the "Digital Israel" national initiative within that particular department's field of operations, in accordance with the National Digital Program, and will report to the Coordinating Headquarters on its implementation. The departmental implementation teams will ensure the integration of the departmental programs as part of the department's annual general work plans.

4.      Horizontal aspects of the "Digital Israel" initiative

A.    To establish an inter-departmental team to remove obstacles for a nationwide fiber optic infrastructure, which shall be made up of: the Director General of the Ministry of Communications - Chairman, the Director of the Planning Administration at the Ministry of the Interior or his/her representative, the Deputy Director of the Budgets Department at the Ministry of Finance, the Commissioner of the Government ICT Unit, the Director General of the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water, and a representative of the Ministry of Justice. The team will discuss reforming the regulatory regime in anticipation of the deployment of the optical fiber infrastructure.

B.     Following Government Decision No. 3611, dated August 7, 2011, the National Cyber Bureau will lead the formulation of a cyber defense policy concerning the cyber space required for realization of the "Digital Israel" national initiative and its implementation.

C.     To task the Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the Commissioner of the Government ICT Unit, to study the government's procurement policy for the purchase of information technology and advanced communications, and to formulate customized solutions for the "Digital Israel" initiative.

D.    To task the Attorney General's representative with leading a team for examining reform of the legislative structure for the digital age and, if necessary, to formulate special solutions for the initiative. Simultaneously to this review, the ILITA will be consulted on all matters pertaining to the protection of personal information throughout the formulation of the national digital program and the departmental programs and their implementation.

E.     To task the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of the Economy to work towards integration of the local knowledge industry in the Digital Israel initiative.

F.      To task the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office with preparation of a plan to increase the deployment of end devices, expanding Internet connection and promotion of digital literacy among the geographic and socially peripheral population.

5.      Budgets and Staffing Positions

A.    The Prime Minister's Office will be issued with six staffing positions for the staffing of the Coordinating Headquarters, which will be established for a limited period in order to realize the objectives set out in this Decision. The positions will be issued and will be staffed in coordination with the Civil Service Commission, in accordance with the law and accepted practice in the civil service and, if possible, in accordance with section 11.98 of the Civil Service Regulations (exemption from a tender procedure for temporary jobs). The Director General of the Prime Minister's Office will work with the Civil Service Commission in order to determine the organizational structure of the Coordinating Headquarters, taking into account the expertise required of the various employees. The positions shall be funded within one month from the date of approval of this Decision.

B.     The Ministry of Finance will transfer NIS 10m to the Prime Minister's Office, for the year 2014, to cover the ongoing operations of the Coordinating Headquarters, including the hiring of consultants. The funding for the initiative in the years that follow will be agreed upon by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the national digital program that will be formulated.

C.     The Coordinating Headquarters will start to operate within three months from the date of this Decision.

D.    The Ministry of Communications will be allocated a further four staffing positions, and NIS 3m for the years 2013-2014 by the Ministry of Finance, in order that it may fulfill its responsibilities regarding the deployment of the optical fiber infrastructure.

Strategy for digital welfare in Denmark

The Danish Government and local and regional governments in Denmark published in September 2013 a common public-sector strategy for digital welfare for the years 2013-2020. To read the full strategy click here.

The aim of the strategy is to accelerate the use of ICT and welfare technology in frontline public service delivery. Specifically, concrete initiatives and objectives in the strategy will speed up the use of efficient and effective digital and technological solutions in healthcare, care for the elderly, social services and education.

Digital welfare services will now make life easier for many citizens.

Electronic classroom boards that make learning more fun; Automated assistive

devices for eating that empower citizens with muscular atrophy to take control of

their own meals; Equipment that allows lung patients to have their check-ups

performed from their own homes, saving them a trip to the hospital.

This is what lies ahead after the launch in September of a common public-sector strategy

for welfare (2013-2020) by the Danish Government and local and regional

governments in Denmark. Test schemes will now become full-scale, whereby

proven technologies that make life easier for citizens and simultaneously free up

time for core welfare services will be disseminated nationally.

The strategy also includes a plan for testing promising technologies quickly to

determine whether it would be advantageous to use them throughout Denmark

"Everyone across the public sector is now joining forces to ensure rapid

dissemination of effective solutions to all of Denmark. Citizens can look forward

to easier everyday lives and more self-empowerment. At the same time, this

means freeing up money which can be used to strengthen our society" said Minister of Finance Bjarne Corydon

Innovation in the public sector?

TheMarker newspaper published a series of reports about the high-tech sector and the state of Israel. It dedicated the fourth article to the adoption of innovation and technology in the public sector. According to the article, “life are digital, but in the public service they are still using faxes”. The article mentioned E-conomy study, conducted by McKinsey and sponsored by Google, and its state that Israel is falling behind when it comes to adopting information technologies and business innovation outside the established high-tech companies and the international R&D centers. When discussing ways to improve productivity and harness technology, the article refers to E-nnovate Israel study that was conducted independently by Trigger-Foresight and sponsored by Google Israel. The study states that a successful way to deal with the challenges and trends Israel is facing can only be possible through innovation. Only innovation has the potential to guarantee the strength and competitiveness of the Israeli market. How can it happen? According to the writers of the study: “it is hard to imagine a truly innovative country without a government that sets example to implementing technologies, as a client for tools and advance means and as a provider of innovative services. It was found that developed countries that wished to do so in the best way, defined clear goals and established extensive national plans in order to get them”.

in the photo: Meir Brand, Amit Lang, Carmela Avner, Yossi Katribas and Amir Teig

Big Tent event in Israel

On November 6, 2013 we hosted as a part of the Big Tent events, Mr. Vint Cerf, VP at Google, a computer science specialist, and who’s  best known as one of the “fathers of the internet”. The event focused on innovation and economic value of the internet - with over 200 senior policy-makers attending. The event was held as a special Gala evening during the The Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society ( The Caesarea Economic Forum). The Deputy Finance Minister, who gave the opening speech, announced his plans to drive more openness and digital innovation within government. A panel on “innovation government to an innovation nation” was hosted by the Managing Director,  of Google Israel, Meir Brand. The participants of the panel were the general director of the ministry of Economy, Amit Lang, the governmental CIO, Carmela Avner, the deputy director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Yossi Katribas and the editor of the hi-tech, media and communication section in TheMarker, Amir Teig.

Vint Cerf being interviewed by Dana Weiss

President Peres visit to Google TLv office

On August 26, 2013, President Shimon Peres paid a special visit to Google’s offices in Tel-Aviv. During his visit, he stopped at Campus TLV, met local startups and launched a Code-Lab -  a brainstorming session involving Israel’s leading gaming developers and Google’s Android Gaming team.

The President was briefed on Google’s technological activities and its contribution to advancing technology and innovation in Israel. He was also presented with the E-nnovate Israel Study and the need to implement innovative technologies in order to advance economic growth and improve the public sector.

The President met with three companies that are involved in Campus TLV’s activities, and was presented with their cutting-edge inventions: Inspiris keyboard - A virtual keyboard that provides a typing solution to millions of visually impaired people around the world; Action Painter - an application that enables the user to create spectacular paintings using Android-based smartphones; Android Robots - small robots that are operated and controlled by Android-based smartphones.

The President was very impressed with the inventions and indicated that: “The Israeli mind is breaking boundaries, is creative and is always looking for innovation and improvements. There is a reason why Israel is called, 'start up nation', and  in my opinion, Israel is already an 'exit nation'. I am proud to see the wonderful, groundbreaking work that is being done here.”

At the end of the visit the President met with hundreds of Google’s employees, praised them for their innovative developments and noted: “The most impressive aspect about Google is the goodwill and ideology that leads you to always think of others and how you can help offer solutions to millions of people. Google is a global company that makes its impact through goodwill and not via force. Geographic boundaries are obliterated by science. Technology has no borders or nationality. I am proud of you Googlers for what your are doing, good luck and may you be successful.”

President Peres in Google TLV office

E-nnovate Israel study launch

E-nnovate Israel was launched in Tel-Aviv on July 15, 2013. For details regarding the full study click here.

The study was revealed in the presence of the Minister of Economy, Mk. Naftali Bennet, The Director General of his office, Mr. Amit Lang, The Korean Ambassador in Israel, Mr. Kim Ilsoo and representatives from different embassies and government ministries.

The study indicates that although Israel enjoys the moniker “startup nation” and is a world leader in creating new technological solutions, it does not exhaust its potential in implementing innovative solutions in order to advance economic growth. Google's CEO in Israel, Mr. Meir Brand, concluded by saying that although Israel might invent the next cutting-edge medical device, the chances are that it will first be used in Denmark, Singapore and Finland and will only reach Israel after it loses its innovative character.  

The Minister referred to the study and pointed out that Israel needs to address three key components: “infrastructure  - anyone who has visited abroad can easily see that surfing the internet is much faster there, and we need to fix that; human capital - Israel has too many people who are outside the circle of innovation and technology. This is not only an economic problem, but also a social one; Government - the Israeli government needs to become a consumer of the innovation growing within its premises. Minister Bennet further concluded that “Israel has been blessed with genes of innovation, but the gene alone is like a seed that cannot grow without suitable, fertile ground. It is the government’s role to fertilize the soil so that these seeds are able to grow.

Innovation in Denmark

Denmark is an example of a country which adopted a policy to promote innovation. A national plan adopted in 2012, positioned Denmark as “a state of solutions”.On June 10th 2013 Google Israel, in cooperation with the Danish Embassy hosted the first “E-nnovate Israel Round Table” with the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education and his team as well as representatives from several Ministries, including Finance, Education, Health, Economy, Communication and Justice. The Danish Minister, who leads the national plan shared his experience in promoting innovation and participants discussed case studies from both countries, where innovative approaches (focusing on ICT tools) offer solutions of the 21st century to problems of the 21st century.You can find more information about the Danish National Plan here.

Campus Tel Aviv