Irish businesses must harness the power of innovation if they are to prosper in more challenging economic times, An Tánaiste Mary Coughlan TD told attendees at the 2008 National Innovation Forum, "Making Innovation Deliver Results", in Croke Park today (11 September 2008).
Attended by over 300 business leaders and SMEs and hosted by Enterprise Ireland, the Forum outlined how innovation is the practice of utilising a new way of thinking to identify practical improvements in products, work processes and structures that enable businesses to add value to their customers in the market place.
Far from being the preserve of large multi-nationals or technology companies, any company can adopt an innovative approach to their market according to the conference’s international speakers including Robert Shelton, author of Making Innovation Work and Professor David Gann, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London.
Opening the conference, An Tánaiste remarked "Ireland is a nation of innovators, where talent gathers and where innovation and creativity thrives. Our recent economic success is rooted in innovation; however we cannot afford to become complacent especially given increased competition in the global economy. Ireland’s priority is developing our economy in ways that maintain competitive advantage and increases productivity. Innovation has no policy borders; in fact it has no borders at all. Innovation must be core to how we think and act as a society and how we deliver goods and services as players in the global economy.
"This government is committed to an unprecedented level of investment in support of innovation in all its forms, with the aim of making Ireland a dynamic, knowledge-driven economy. I am determined that the level of support that is needed will be delivered," An Tánaiste added.
Michael Moriarty, Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation and Global Partnering Department, said: "Ireland’s future lies in its continued development as a knowledge region with internationally recognised skills, productivity and competitiveness all based on a culture of innovation. We know that the current business environment is challenging. However, Enterprise Ireland is working closely with our client companies who are taking a longer term view. By putting innovation at the top of the agenda and translating this into practical and measurable initiatives, businesses of all sizes will enhance the bottom line and make their operations more efficient."
Other leading international speakers at the Forum included Dr Elena Lurie-Luke, Head of Bioscience Business Development at Procter and Gamble EMEA; Professor Cornelius Herstatt, Institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology; and Alex Osterwalder, founder of Business Model Design and international commentator on innovation.
A key aspect of the Forum is to provide specific examples of how Irish organisations, large and small, can make innovation enhance their bottom line, improve efficiency in product and service development, strengthen client relations, identify under-utilised skills and create committment to an innovation culture. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first hand from their business peers who have undergone the experience of applying an innovative work ethic and culture in their own businesses and have witnessed the results and experienced the successes.
For further information visit: www.enterprise-ireland.com/innovation