With the publication of the Innovation Taskforce’s report, the key now is ensuring Ireland is battle-fit to compete in the global knowledge economy, fielding Irish multinationals and much-needed jobs.
Intellectual property: At present multinationals account for 70pc of R&D activity in Ireland.
This balance could shift in favour of indigenous activity and the country could reach a target of 3pc of GDP spend on R&D if a greater flow of intellectual property is facilitated. Overzealous rules governing the ownership of IP at third level must be relaxed for innovation to flow into the economy.
Technology transfer: Universities and colleges are no longer to be seen solely as places of learning but potential wealth creation centres. They should be focal points for SMEs, start-ups and multinationals to gain and exchange knowledge, build products and provide graduates with hands-on experience.
Existing firms: Innovation is not just about Silicon Valley style firms. Traditional second and third-generation firms that have already proven their business acumen should be encouraged to research and develop new products and services with the same zeal as any start-up, existing tech firm or multinational.
Start-ups: Ireland should lend itself to rapid start-up activity from an indigenous perspective but also be seen as an attractive location for overseas start-ups to come to innovate and trade.
By John Kennedy