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The Rise of Design Thinking and Industrial Design in Israel’s Startup and Innovation Economy

Israeli entrepreneurs are turning their attention to physical products -- and succeeding
Illustrative. A software developer at an Israeli start-up working on a project. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Illustrative. A software developer at an Israeli start-up working on a project. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Note: I am now two weeks into a 12-week engagement on behalf of Rackspace and their startup and developer+ programs – helping the startup community and expanding my coverage in my column.

As my adventure in Israel continues, I am seeing another pattern evolve here.

There are more and more startups being formed by creators of physical products – designed not by an expert in a particular field, but someone who either wanted to solve a problem of their own, or recognized a market opportunity.

The idea is not just to make something better, but re-invent, and possibly create an entirely new market segment that never existed. It’s the discipline of design thinking and the creativity of industrial design that’s in play.

I think the team at Fugu Luggage is on to something big. They’ve got 30 days left in their Kickstarter campaign.

Enter Isaac Atlas, Daniel Gindis, David Lifshitz and their team of industrial designers who conceived something that’s personally painful to me: luggage.

I travel a lot .

When I come to Israel, I will come with less and often leave with more.

And even now that I am here for three months, and even with the comforts of living in an AirBNB studio, there just is not enough storage to keep my things and keep me organized and productive.

When I travel to other places, I need one bag for a two- day trip. Another for a five- day trip. I want a bag I can carry on, one that I can check in. And another that will shrink or expand on demand.

Oh – did I tell you that a mobile desk for my MacBook Air and iPhone would be nice?

There’s a problem to be solved and a market opportunity in all of this.

It’s one of design thinking and industrial design.

The team at Fugu has nailed this, big time.

And be it luggage, or a recent Israeli product – a bicycle seat that transforms in to an amazing lock, I am seeing more an more startups applying design thinking, combining them with wonderful industrial design, and applying the principles of scale to bring their ideas forward.

This week, I saw a really cool add-on that could transform how guitars are used and taken more into the mainstream.

The startups I am meeting here in Israel are using platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise money, reaching out to their networks on the social web to expand their reach, and bringing their ideas to journalists and media with the hopes of being discovered about the next big thing.

I am hearing themes from investors telling me that if the startup can show some traction and interest on crowdfunding platforms, they’ll consider a seed investment.

If you’re working on your next big thing in the physical world, email me:

I’m looking to cover innovations like Fugu Luggage and further advance this compelling story….

To be continued….I hope.



About the Author
Alan Weinkrantz is a Tech PR / Startup Communications advisor to Israeli and U.S. companies, and is the Brand Ambassador and Senior Advisor for James Brehm & Associates, one of the leading IoT (Internet of Things) strategy and consulting firms.
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