Innovation is a priority for Management 2.0

16 Feb 2009

A new generation of managers who share global ambition, an innovation mindset and socialisation capabilities could be key to the recovery of the Irish economy, the MBA Association of Ireland has said.

To move Ireland from survival to a once-again thriving economy, we must look to one of our best assets – our managers, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) professor and new business book author Dr James Cunningham told a Dublin business audience recently.

Cunningham, who is director of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUIG and co-author of the recently published book Irish Management 2.0: New Priorities for a Changing Economy, has examined the nature of success in a series of Irish companies – from U2 to CRH, Cloon Keen Candles to Vivas Health.

Cunningham’s conclusions show a clear capability within the new crop of Irish managers – a combination of creativity, innovation and socialisation – that can make the notion of Irish competitiveness and the knowledge economy a reality.

He was speaking at an MBA Association of Ireland business event at the Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club in Dublin last month.

Cunningham said that innovation must be put at the heart of Irish business. “That is the key to long-range competitive distinctiveness. Have global ambition, then develop the global perspective needed to scale businesses beyond our borders.

“Create flexible, agile organisations that nurture and harness talent to take ownership of convergent, competitive spaces. And have absolute clarity of purpose, and focus relentlessly on competitiveness,” he recommended.

Greg Devlin of the MBA Association, which co-sponsored the book with Enterprise Ireland, echoed Cunningham’s messages: “The way to meet challenging circumstances is by deploying the best you have. And we have grown an exceptional new generation of dynamic, professional managers and leaders in our recent past,  whose expertise has been honed by their international business experience as much as by the domestic economic boom.

“They are better equipped than any previous generation to rise to the twin challenges of domestic recovery and international competitiveness.

“We need to remember that the Irish companies examined in Irish Management 2.0 were not simply swimming in the slipstream of a tiger economy, but have built solid success on the strength of innovative founder entrepreneurs, courageous risk takers, energetic and resourceful management, and organisational ambition and vision. Those human assets will be key to our economic recovery,” Devlin concluded.

Published by Blackhall Books, with an introduction by Harvard Business Revieweditor Thomas A Stewart, Irish Management 2.0  is an essential resource for practitioners, students and for anyone interested in the future of Irish business, and is available from Blackhall Publishers, Dublin

By John Kennedy