Innovative thinking needs to transcend every facet of the Irish economy if Ireland wants to transition from the mistakes of the past and be agile to embrace the opportunities of tomorrow, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, told the Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin this morning. In particular, a lead in big data will translate into a potential game-changer for businesses in the economy.
Ireland needs to build on the strengths of more than a decade of scientific investment and continue rising up the innovation ranks worldwide, he said.
“In order to make the transition from the kind of economy that got us into trouble into a strong, sustainable economy, we need to get a lot of things working together. We clearly have to build bridges between research, the commercial and the industrial community. This is hugely important,” Bruton said.
He said Ireland needs to look back on the good work that has been done so far in terms of the technology centres of excellence forged by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland and in collaboration with academia that identify problems and attempt to solve them.
But now the time is to go further and turn these research centres into world-class research centres that attract outside funding from business and industry.
“It’s no longer good just to have great ideas. These won’t change the world unless someone plucks these ideas from research and turns them into successful businesses.”
Bruton said big data is one area where Ireland is excelling.
He cited Dublin City University as an example of a university that is pushing the boat in terms of bringing entrepreneurship to the core of courses being taught at third level and the research occurring at fourth level.
He said the Government’s €175m investment in venture capital that could be leveraged up to €700m is an example of how the State is helping the innovation economy to flourish.
Bruton said the deal flow emerging from research in Ireland has doubled and establishing the confidence to push that even further is vital.
Getting to the top of the food chain
“What we need to do is build on our strengths. We are fortunate enough to have the most ambitious companies in the world investing in Ireland as a location to do innovative work.
“We are clawing our way to the top 10 in really important classifications.
“In our Action Plan for Jobs, we have picked disruptive reforms. If we co-ordinate across agencies and players, we can make a difference.”
On the subject of big data, Ireland can be a hub for innovation if it seizes upon opportunities in areas like connected health.
“If we can be the place where test bedding occurs – our institutions have talented people – it opens up big opportunities for us. Big data is transforming business. Companies that use it to mine data as a way of business are more successful than those that don’t.
“We need to position ourselves to have the skills and by picking exemplar projects.
“We need an innovation revolution to drive the transition.
“Innovation is not just about men in white coats – it is a state of mind to do new things in new ways and test the boundaries.”
Bruton cited Siliconrepublic.com for challenging Ireland to be the go-to place for innovation.
“That’s something that we need to cherish and build out. My ambition is to stake that claim, rise in the rankings and most of all attract new people to build the new ideas and use them to create a strong and vibrant economy to employ the talented people we produce in Ireland.”
Watch Richard Bruton deliver his opening address at the Innovation Ireland Forum here: