The Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Women Leaders trade mission to Israel earlier this month.

About 40 delegates got an inside look at key sectors of innovation, big data, predictive analytics, IoT, retail tech, and cyber security.

The mission was headed by Helen Coonan, chair of Supervised Investments Australia Limited, member of the JP Morgan Advisory Council, and former Australian senator and cabinet minister; and Diane Smith-Gander, immediate past president of Chief Executive Women, Australia’s preeminent women’s advocacy group.

The visiting women spanned the banking and financial services sector, retail, energy, property, infrastructure, technology, government, education, legal, health, telcos, media, executive search, venture capital, incubators and startup founders.

“In the twenty plus sessions and meetings we had, the messages we heard as to why their country is called ‘the innovation nation’ were consistent,” blogged Josephine Napoli, chief financial officer of Australian fintech company Bux Global.

“The compulsory military service was often talked about as a contributor. First, it is an equalizer. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, male or female. You’re all in the military and you’re all the same. Secondly, teamwork and collaboration are critical, there’s no space in dangerous or complicated situations to think only of yourself. Thirdly, significant responsibility is bestowed at a very young age.”

Napoli continued: “Don’t think about military solely in terms of combat – think software engineering, intelligence and strategy, cyber security, coding and technology development, skills that are highly valued in the workforce. It equips them for technological disruption.”

Samantha Clarke, cofounder Advice RegTech, blogged: “The get-up-and-go of the Israeli leaders and startup founders fueled the imagination and courageous spirit of the Australian leaders on this delegation.”

In the same week in June, a delegation of 20 Australian universities was visiting Israeli universities and innovation centers.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s National Cyber Policy Office is bringing 30 public- and private-sector participants from Australia and New Zealand on an innovation-scouting trip to Cyber Week in Tel Aviv, June 25-29.