Digital transformation will fix the Irish economy

3 Mar 2010

Ireland needs to find a way to emulate the success of locations like Silicon Valley and can begin by fixing the things that are broken and using digital technologies to transform the economy, said the chairman of the advisory board of UCD Smurfit Business School Paul Haran this morning.

“The digital world has transformed the pace, rate and scope of business to a degree that was unimaginable a few years ago,” Haran told this morning’s Digital Landscapes event at UCD.

“We now have the capacity to deliver from anywhere in the world high-value add services with zero marginal costs. It is staggering the kind of opportunities it presents.

“But realising these opportunities presents a big challenge,” he said.

“While geography is redundant in some senses, physical proximity still has importance. Areas like Silicon Valley have a way of repeatedly growing and finding new opportunities. All our collective ambitions should be aimed at this country becoming a Silicon Valley of the future.”

Haran said the best way to capture the opportunities that are presented is to begin by fixing the things that are broken in the country and that will transform the economy.

He pointed to the continued lack of postcodes which would be vital for postcodes and next-generation GPS systems.

“Postcodes and GPS are a sensitive piece of infrastructure that while not politically attractive are very important.

“Unless a modern economy can have a modern postal code, we cannot provide a framework for people to develop apps to use as a testing ground.

“Unless we have ministers willing to lead such transformations and address the sacred cows that object, we as a people will not realise the future,” Haran said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years