Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Innovation Forum

Yesterday evening I chaired the Innovation Forum at Clyde Rd.

Just over 100 people attended,  with several more webex'ing in.   The webex is available for playback here at Engineers TV.

Our first speaker was Peter Russo,  Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Strascheg Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Euroepan Business School at Frankfurt, Germany.   Peter presented an interesting analysis of German economic policy as regards innovation since the World War II,  noting successes and failures.   He highlighted the re-position of Audi with the Quattro series and how that came about.   He also noted the failure to commercialise in Germany the MP3 audio compression technology invented by the Fraunhofer Institute,  that in due course became the underpinning technology of the Apple iPod and Player.   He summarised with a SWOT analysis of Germany's innovation policy.

Anna Scally,  of KPMG,  then gave a presentation on the process and work of the Innovation Taskforce, and its progress to date.  She highlighted some of the key themes if its work before focussing on taxation policy,  including as relates to Intellectual Policy.

Damien Callaghan,  of Intel Venture Capital,  spoke on enabling entrepreneurs to be successful,   and the role that Venture Capital can and cannot play.   As a member of the Innovation Taskforce,  he reinforced some of Anna's comments,  and discussed the role of risk capital in re-building the economy.

A lively Q&A session followed,   with about 15 questions taken overall.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Great event, really well attended and as you say, some thoughtful questions to the panel.

    I have every confidence that the report of the Taskforce WILL show the way forward for Ireland.

    As an engineer (Civil) I have to ask:

    Can we do an "energy" calcuation to find out the quantity of energy that needs to be "INPUT" to the system to overcome its inertia, since we know interia exists.

    If we know this "energy" then we can all contribute our bit. I suggest that the inflexion point is more carefully researced and identified so that we have a clear goal to aim for to change the system dynamics. then, implementing the task force report will be a "down-hill" affair.

    So it might be that witihn 2 years the following 10 things need to happen. IEI, as engineers, could calculate this.

    My fear is that if we leave it to the politicians to generate the momentum for change... we may be left disappointed and not reach the heights possible.

    There is sufficient energy in the system to reach that inflexion point - however it is not all concentrated in the right direction. We need enough concentration / focus that we can ignite the flames from which the Celtic Phoenix can rise.

    Mark Rodgers
    Member IEI

  2. Mark,

    very interesting!!

    I built a model for the taskforce, using classical Laplace transforms in a positive feedback loop to show how a relatively small perturbation could lead to a dramatic outcome -- ie if we encourage the creation of a relatively small number of appropriate start-ups, and have positive feedback, then the job creation rate can grow exponentially under certain conditions.

    Sadly, I don't think my analysis will make the final report -- not sure the economists amongst us understand Fourier Transforms.. :-)

    I might post the analysis to my main blog (http://chrisjhorn.wordpress.com) at some point :-)

    Glad you enjoyed the event...

    very best wishes