Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On Innovation

Yesterday I mentioned that we need to be innovative facing our challenges. But it dawned on me I did not talk about innovation enough. 

Commuting in at 4.30am this morning I was considering it again. Here are some further thoughts...

Innovation is a fashionable word. I use it often, probably too often. But what is innovation and how should we think about it. Or "frame" it?

Think of it as the discovery of new paths, creating something new or a better version of something that already exists.

I looked for innovation in others and found Scott Belsky again. According to Scott Belsky of Behance “part of the process is defying the status quo”. 

Here are a few quotes via Scott…

“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” -John Kenneth Galbraith

 “If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you’re playing by the rules.” -Paul Arden

“The truth is, creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.” -Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford Engineering School.

Looking to old quotes may not be innovative but nothing wrong from building from the "shoulders of giants". 

Have a good day. 

Innovation and Competitiveness and Our Future

We need to up-our-game. It is unlikely that the supportive winds of a global recovery will arrive for years and therefore we need to put in place now the foundation to have a big sail (think spinnaker) to catch the wind if and when it arrives.

Lets focus on education, innovation and competitiveness.

A recent report carried our by a Washington DC think tank ranks Ireland as 13th out of 40 for innovation and competitiveness. In some categories we did poorly, but overall we are in the top 15 of 40. In areas like corporate tax rates and foreign direct investment we are #1. The report focused on EU states and the US.

One of the many things concerning about the report is that Ireland only rank 18th in R&D and below places like China and the EU10 accession countries. This bodes badly for us in the future should our standing remain so low.

In the category of GDP per hour worked, Ireland exceeds the United State but in terms of I.T. investment and researchers per capita we are only at 75% approx. of the US levels. Again this is worrying.

While VC capital availability has become more troublesome from the last survey we are still 14th and in the top 10 for entrepreneurship.

With the ongoing rise of China, India and global competition Ireland, the EU and the US will need to up-its-game.

I know investment capital at the moment is as rare as hens that have teeth. People are maxed out with borrowings including our government but where we can, indeed where we must we should focus now on…

1. Education – the cornerstone. Lets focus on the science, technology, energy, climate and food. I think clean traceable organic food may be the next “black gold”. And Ireland can be a super producer of this currently under appreciated commodity.

2. Technical Rights to Succeed. We need all the facilitating links to make sure we catch the wind and contribute to it.

a. The right regulatory framework – I give us an arbitrary score of 7

b. An accommodative tax policy – mixed score here. R&D investment relief OK, cost of employing and VAT is crazy, corp tax rates great. Score 6.5

c. Technological infrastructure. We are dreadful in this area. We need to do more and fast. I live 21 miles from Dublin and cant get broadband.

3. Focus on some “wicked problems” where we have strengths. E.g. we can contribute significantly to solving our and others fossil fuel dependency. Ireland has masses of untapped wind and waver energy. While we may not have the capital base to do the entire R&D required we must invest in these areas. We have had success before. Same can be said again for good food and water.

In conclusion, we and others are on our knees at the moment but we must continue to invest in our long term. Increase our productive capacity by focusing on education in the first instance and removing the hurdles to innovation and competitiveness.

In Ireland we are innovative and entrepreneurial by nature but we must keep our morale strong. Yes things are bad and will get worse, but “this too shall pass”, and when it does our attitude is what will fuel our recovery.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Tell us how to Improve Here.

We're using crowd wisdom to improve.

Have your say here http://htxt.it/400E

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Announcing the Intrade Virtual Internships.

Announcing the Intrade Virtual Internships. http://htxt.it/rNMM

What will the ECB Do Today?

Currencies Lets hope the ECB drop rates and confirm a program of quantitative easing today. http://htxt.it/XsUz

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

EU think 2010 unemployment in Eurozone will top 11%

EU think 2010 unemployment in Eurozone will top 11%. We think it is higher. http://htxt.it/Q4xI

US Tax Changes - Will Hurt Ireland

US multinationals paid $16bn US tax on $70bn earnings or a tax of 2.3% in '04. Obama intends to change this - Ireland to suffer. http://htxt.it/bbQw

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Flu - Update

The markets are pricing in a 40% chance of 5000 or more cases of Swine Flu be end June.