Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CPD Companies of the Year

This morning in the D4 Ballsbridge hotel (the old Berkeley Court) we held the finals of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) companies of the year and a CPD symposium.  The overall theme was "Low-cost,  high-impact CPD to strategically adapt and innovate".

The winners were as follows:
  • Small-sized company: Malachy Walsh & Partners
  • Medium-sized company: Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Manufacturing
  • Large-sized company: Pfizer Biotechnologies
  • Public-Sector award: Dublin City Council
  • Overall CPD Company of the Year: DePuy Ireland
Michael Hayden,  chair of the judging panel and President of the Academy of Engineers,  also received an award to recognise his hugely influential work over the last ten years in helping build the CPD programme.

In addition to the awards,  we had a key note speech by Dr. Paul Duffy,  of Pfizer and the American Chamber of Commerce.  Paul emphasised the role of CPD in the smart economy,  and then answered an extensive list of questions from audience about his commercial experiences and recommendations on CPD.

Morgan Kilgallen,  of Kilgallen & Partners,  presented a case study on how his consulting company had invested in CPD,  and diversified his business to survive the recession.  Joe Horan,  of the South Dublin County Council,  then gave an overview of the tactics he had used to re-enegerise his public sector organisation,  gradually changing culture and effectiveness,  including by extensive use of IT.  

Gary Clerkin,  of DePuy Ireland,  described the processes used within DePuy to manage innovation,  including filtering out ideas which although exciting may not always have been executable.  David Moran,  of Changing Worlds & Amdocs,  likewise gave an overview of how he had used CPD to derive new products for the global market in his company.

I then concluded the event.  For the record,  my speech is below.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I remind you that the theme of this symposium has been 'Low-cost, high-impact CPD to strategically adapt and innovate'.

I'ld like us all to again congratulate our winners:  Malachy Walsh & Partners;  Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and Manufacturing; Pfizer Biotechnologies; Dublin City Council; Dublin City Council; and DePuy Ireland.

I'ld also like us to thank the Clyde Road team:  Aidan Harney and the CPD accreditation team;  Jimmy Kinahan and the CPD training team;  Michael Hayden and the panel of judges;  and PJ Rudden and the CPD Governance Committee.

I was pleased to note that Gary Clerkin,  in his address,  observed that innovation can be much more than innovation of new products,  but also of new services,  of new business processes and practices,  and of brand.  I was also pleased by the emphasis on client focus and engagement.  If I may,  I would like to add one further point:  innovation can come via insightful design,  and I believe that there is a strong role for design to play in helping us position ur products and services best for the international market.

I want to emphasise the very successful partnership between Engineers Ireland and the Department of Enterprise,  Trade and Employment in promoting CPD since 2000,  through the National Training Fund.  As Aidan Harney has already observed,  the targets jointly set between the Department and ourselves have been consistently beaten,  with now 117 organisations accredited,  employing some 15,000 engineering professionals.

One of our audience questions related to the potential impact of the McCarthy report recommendations on potentially reducing State support for CPD.  I would like to respond by repeating Paul Duffy's remark: 'There are no more safe jobs.'  My view is that even if we do manage to restore our national competitiveness as an economy,  perhaps to what it was a decade ago,  that is insufficient for recovery:  the world has moved on,  and restoration of the status quo will be insufficient for Ireland.

Joe Horan noted that in his County Council,  he always asks the question 'are we spending money for yesterday,  or for tomorrow ?'   Joe's question is really also one for the nation:  it pains me that with NAMA and our public sector costs,  we are currently borrowing 100euro every week for each man,  woman and child in Ireland - is this spending for yesterday,  or for tomorrow ?

The McCarthy report says much about cutbacks,  but I have yet to hear much from our political leaders about a strategic vision,  strategic objectives and a strategic plan.   It is easy to identify cut backs.  But where are going to invest ?

One questioner asked our panel whether we would ever reach a saturation point for commercial innovation ?   I sometimes wonder have our political leaders and policy makers reached a saturation point in their own ability to think innovatively and to lead.

A smart economy requires smart people:  do we have enough smart people in our economy to lead us and rebuild our nation ?  

If we are to have a smart economy,  than we must invest in skills and innovation.   The theme of this conference was,  I remind you, 'Low-cost,  high-impact CPD,  to strategically adapt and innovate'.  I believe that Engineers Ireland has absolutely delivered on this:  with relatively little,  but very gratefully received,  State aid,  we in Engineers Ireland have delivered a low cost (from the State's perspective),  high-impact CPD programme,  to strategically adapt and innovate across the entire economy,  as represented not only by our prize winners today but also by our 117 accredited organisations.   We ask that the Department of Enterprise,  Trade and Employment continue their support to us."

No comments:

Post a Comment