Innovation – more than a buzz word?


At the IBEC Regional Insights Series " The Innovation Imperative " at the Maryborough Hotel were L to R., Paul Stapleton, General Manager, Electric Ireland ( Sponsor ), Deirdre O'Shaughnessy, Editor, and Presenter at Cork 96FM ( Event Moderator ) and Fergal O'Brien, Director of Policy, IBEC. Picture, Tony O'Connell Photography.
At the IBEC Regional Insights Series ” The Innovation Imperative ” at the Maryborough Hotel were L to R., Paul Stapleton, General Manager, Electric Ireland ( Sponsor ), Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, Editor, and Presenter at Cork 96FM ( Event Moderator ) and Fergal O’Brien, Director of Policy, IBEC. Picture, Tony O’Connell Photography.

I spent yesterday morning moderating an event on innovation for business, organised by IBEC with the support of Electric Ireland.

Probably like most journalists (and anyone who’s ever watched Dragon’s Den) I am a bit sick of the word ‘innovation’, because I’ve seen it describe everything from a new pub to a new brand of moisturiser in press releases.

What I didn’t realise was that the buzz word has actually been implemented as part of government policy, with practical (funded!) avenues put in place for businesses of all sizes to access researchers and experts in their areas through third-level institutions, and that there is a layer of staff now working on connecting business with researchers.

I came away pretty impressed with what UCC and CIT are doing to assist Cork businesses through both major research centres and on a smaller level, but also with some of the policies put in place by the three companies represented (EMC, Dairygold and Electric Ireland) to foster a culture of innovation within their organisations at every level. It got me thinking – how many employers encourage staff to think outside their own little box and consider the workings of the company overall?

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