People who don’t consider themselves innovative need only look back to their childhoods and they will quickly realise that innovation is in their DNA. That was the message Intel’s Philip Moynagh had for this morning’s Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin. Moynagh spearheaded the creation of the Galileo dev board ‘Designed in Ireland’.
Moynagh mused: “What’s the problem, where does it drift? We can have innovation in the kitchen, innovation in the garden, innovation with woodwork, with music – if we can sustain the natural tendency we have as creative machines that spill out in our childhood and continue into adulthood.”
He said that in Ireland, writers such as Seán O’Casey, James Joyce, Brendan Behan and Seamus Heaney sustained a proud tradition of innovation in written language, for example. “We broke a lot of rules – that’s a key part of what makes innovation what it is,” he said.
“I think that attitude and a lack of respect for the rules was critical in delivering the breakthroughs we’ve had in this country.
“As kids, we were innovation machines and that’s always been the case with kids.”
Moynagh said that one-third of the ideas of significance on the planet came out of the European region, yet today only about a sixth of the ideas that make it to market come from Europe.
Moynagh questioned what is preventing the European region from achieving more breakthroughs.
Last week, Moynagh and his 70-strong team debuted the Galileo dev board which runs the X1000 Quark processor at the Maker Faire in Rome. The product was completely designed in Ireland and could power the chip giant’s foray into the internet of things.
Power now belongs to the people
Taking Karl Marx’s famous “power belongs to those that control the means of production” quote, Moynagh says power that lies in the hands of big companies no longer exists.
He said the power of innovation resting solely in the hands of big companies is dwindling. “Something fundamental is happening in bringing ideas to market. In the past you used to have to be big, big always beat small.”
Pointing to the rise of companies like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, YouTube, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Baidu and eBay, Moynagh said the last decade has proven that small now beats big.
“The innovation deficit you think that exists in China is not true,” Moynagh said, singling out Baidu’s Robin Li as an example and forecasting a lot of innovation to come from that region, in particular.
Moynagh said the barrier between an idea and a product is disappearing and citing mechanisms such as accelerator Y Combinator and funding forums like Kickstarter, he said there is a process at play and a market is ready to receive these ideas and products.
In many ways, he said, the barrier between ideas and product is only “ankle deep” and the arrival of technologies, such as DIY dev boards, RFID tags and 3D printing, signals a new wave of innovation and economic opportunity.
He cited businesses that were using cloud computing to manage building maintenance to a woman who created a Twitter-connected cat flap that responded to an RFID tag on the cat’s collar.
“There are people who have wired their plants to say ‘I am thirsty’.
“The ideas are endless and the reality is the big business models that required big companies to deliver innovation are changing – but the really important innovation is the hands of people who can overcome the small energy barrier to market.
“Let’s find a way of taking this smartness and get past the frustrations and apply it in a meaningful way. We’ll be better off and the planet will be a better place,” Moynagh said.
Watch Philip Moynagh deliver his keynote speech at the Innovation Ireland Forum here: