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Innovative technologies are creating the means for big data to shape global economies. This digital revolution is transforming medicine, transport and energy, and is altering the nature of power and political leadership as nations build strength through their people.

One nation demonstrating this change is Israel. Built on the brainchild of former Israeli premier Shimon Peres, the Israeli Innovation Center in Jaffa has been launched to showcase this shift.

Peres’ innovation center will demonstrate the country’s technological achievements and encourages collaboration and innovation across all its communities, not just in Israel but right across the Middle East.

According to the Financial Times, Israel is one of the few countries who owe its survival to innovation. With little land and water, settlers experimented with new farming techniques to raise agricultural productivity. Surrounded by hostile neighbors, the military had no option but to gain a technological edge to survive and then thrive.

What’s more, as Israeli president between 2007 and 2014, Peres had no administration and could issue no orders. But this powerlessness enabled him to persuade people to do things. “The only thing I could do was to call on people to volunteer. And you’ll be surprised: I never heard the word no,” he said, and this is how technological innovation came about.

Broader technological collaboration could “contribute to peace across the Middle East if the so-called Start-Up Nation can help nurture a Start-Up Region and promote economic growth and interdependence”

Peres believes that broader technological collaboration could also “contribute to peace across the Middle East if the so-called Start-Up Nation can help nurture a Start-Up Region and promote economic growth and interdependence.” To help encourage this, his foundation is working in Egypt, Jordan and Africa to encourage new enterprises.

“Right now, the world is going through a transitional period: one age is dying, but is not dead, and another one has been born, but is still in childhood,” Peres says. He suggests that the big data revolution is rewriting the rules of our economies. “Information has always existed but is difficult to collect. It’s like eating soup with a fork. Big data gives you a spoon,” he says.

Peres says a nation’s strength will eventually depend on its people and its companies rather than the military. A leader’s authority will rely on influence, rather than by the heavy-handed approach seen today.

To embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, politicians must forget the past and focus on the future. Peres argues that vision is more important than experience, and leaders should have greater faith in the young. Building communities through digital innovation is now key to a nation’s success.

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