In October, Marcella Rosen spoke in Chicago about her new book, Tiny Dynamo: How One of the World's Smallest Countries is Producing Some of Our Most Important Inventions. The book has attracted the notice of major business magazines like Forbes and Inc. It was released by Untold News, which is also the name of the blog Rosen started in 2010 to inform Americans about Israel's latest advancements. Some of her findings:
• Israel is home to almost as many startup companies as the entire European Union.
• Israel is ranked #2 in the world, behind the US, for venture capital funds.
• Israel has the fourth largest number of companies traded on NASDAQ.
• Warren Buffett's first investment outside the US was $4 billion for an Israeli
• Just about every major global IT company has opened an R&D division in Israel.
• With 46 percent of its adults holding college degrees, Israel ranks No. 2 worldwide.
"What's more important than the numbers is that Israel's energy and inventiveness and output matter," Rosen said. "From the hospital to the farm, from outer space to your kitchen, Israel's life-saving, life-enhancing creations make a positive difference every day." Going beyond statistics, Rosen captures the remarkable enthusiasm and determination of Israel's trailblazing scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs through 21 fascinating, emblematic stories. Rosen met Israeli inventors and engineers who helped:
• Provide the world with an abundant supply of safe, clean water
• Make delicate spinal surgery super-precise
• Keep drivers safer and less vulnerable to accidents
• Destroy tumors
• Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
• Save the threatened bees that sustain agriculture
• Radically improve airport security
• Produce better electronic cars… and the flash drive
Israel has made so many groundbreaking innovations, she said, that it was hard to decide which to include in the book. Ultimately, she said, she and her co-author, David Kornhaber, chose those that "exemplified the breadth and diversity of the innovations-from restoring vision after macular degeneration to the color hologram."
She was most impressed with an Israeli idea for preventing hospital infections. "Worldwide, a million people a year die from hospital infections-90,000 in the US alone. An Israeli found a way to impregnate all the fabrics in hospitals-sheets, curtains, hospital gowns, doctors' robes, etc.- with an anti-bacterial agent to prevent these infections."
On a more daily level, Rosen said everyone could use "biodegradable packaging, which has a shelf life of six months. She said the environmental impact was the same as eating a piece of fruit: "You eat the orange and the peel biodegrades automatically."
Rosen's first trip to Israel, she said, was "surprising. It was nothing like I had imagined. Israel is so diverse and dynamic. It shows what human beings are capable of when necessary." As she explains in the preface to her book, "I was there on business, and I had come into contact with a number of people who were embarking on entrepreneurial ventures of one kind or another-none connected to each other, nor even in related areas of business."
Her takeaway? "If tiny, beleaguered Israel can generate these kinds of results under its current circumstances, imagine what it could achieve if it were released from the shackles of warfare. If this little country of eight million souls could focus the entirety of its energy and resources and resilience on the problems and puzzles facing us all, how much better a place would this world be?"
It was this "learning key facts about Israel which are known by very few Americans," she said, that led to her blog and eventual book, "realizing that Israeli inventions improve our American lives and wanting to raise awareness of these inventions that benefit us."
She began her blog in 2010 to get the word out. She called it Untold News to reflect the stories that she felt had gone unreported. "Professionally, I come from the world of communications and media, and I know deep in my bones that no country's media coverage is equivalent to that of that country. It's anathema to me to hear a story half-told."
These days, she returns annually and has now visited "a dozen times." Aside from her blog and book, Rosen established the Campus Tolerance Foundation in 2002 to research and raise awareness about the bias present on college campuses. She enlisted top creative directors, web designers, a law firm, and research company, all pro bono, to run a pro-Israel ad campaign in college newspapers at 20 U.S. universities.
Rosen's advice to other countries or cities that want to transform into Israel-style "dynamos"? Adopt Israel's openness, on both social and societal levels. "It is vital that they encourage questioning and novel approaches," she said, adding, "It would help if they had people from 70 countries and cultures" like Israel as well.
For more information, visit tinydynamobook.com. 'Tiny Dynamo' is available through Amazon.com in paperback of e-book form, and from Barnes & Noble as an e-book.