By Abigail Klein Leichman - July 27, 2015 

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Tell an Israeli his or her invention idea is preposterous, and you’ve just given that inventor a reason to see it through.

Whether it was planting crops in the desert or building a crowdsourced navigation app, most groundbreaking Israeli innovations were initially dismissed as impossible – until bold action turned them into reality.

“When you try to break new frontiers, sometimes what you do doesn’t seem to make sense,” says Avi Hasson, chief scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy. “The issue is not about the idea but the action. You need to go out there and figure it out.”

Israelis love solving problems, Hasson tells ISRAEL21c.

An educational culture that encourages questioning and independent thinking, and innovating on the fly in the military, leads Israelis to read the word “impossible” as “I’m possible.”

“Commanders in the field are not supposed to rely on the generals to solve their problems; they’re expected to take responsibility to solve things by themselves, understanding that failure is an option,” Hasson explains.

“And in the technological units, on a daily basis you’re expected to do the impossible with few resources in a short time,” adds the chief scientist, whose office supports and encourages industrial research and development while sharing the risk inherent in such projects.

“In our office, we see thousands of risky endeavors each year, scientifically or on the business side,” says Hasson. “We get excited about such projects because we want to be an active partner in helping people take technological, financial and business development risks.”

Ultimately, he adds, Israelis are brilliant at outside-the-box thinking “because we have no choice. We’re a small country, far away from the market. We have to do things that are too tough and too scary for others.”

Here, ISRAEL21c takes a look at just a few of the amazing inventions once thought impossible. Read More