Possible end of the Innovation Taskforce

Well,  I guess it was kind of inevitable.

Had an email yesterday evening from a senior public servant re. our next scheduled meeting of the Innovation Taskforce Implementation Group.

“I wish to confirm that, in the light of the dissolution of the Dail today, this meeting has been postponed. I will be in contact as soon as I have an alternative date.

We’ll see.


About chrisjhorn

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2 Responses to Possible end of the Innovation Taskforce

  1. Chris,

    You may like to listen to this old 2006 panel talk from Berkeley in relation to the launch of their Innovation initiative within the campus back then. One of the initial speakers on the day, noted how strange statements like,

    School for Information,
    Future of Innovation,

    would have sounded to folk twenty years ago. That is, aren’t all of the schools about information? And what exactly does a phrase like ‘future of innovation’ mean? Isn’t innovation always going to be in the future? Isn’t that what the future is in significant part, about?


  2. Chris, If I may develop a little bit.

    What we have in the ‘innovation taskforce’, is an example of what Clayton Christensen described in the book, The Innovator’s Solution. It is akin, to RCA company, trying to develop the transistor radio to the same level of sound quality, enjoyed by the then existing market for their vacuum tube based radio products. The transistor wasn’t ready to make that leap yet. Instead, what was required was a customer base, who didn’t care about vacuum tube quality of sound re-production. What was needed was a different consumer base, who would enjoy the transistors for the advantages it possessed over any other technology.

    Christensen gave the exactly of the hearing aid, and how users of hearing aids found the new transistor based products wonderful. Because they were so lightweight and convenient. But instead of pursuing that consumer base, RCA sold the farm to try and develop the transistor in their laboratories. Cue the Japanese corporation of Sony, the transistor based radio for teenagers, the low end transistor based televisions and so forth. The rest is history.

    I feel, that the Innovation Taskforce in Ireland fell into the same trap as the RCA effort with the nascent transistor technology. It has set the bar for what it needs to achieve, so high in the sky, that it makes it impossible to achieve.

    What we need to do for the Innovation Taskforce, is to find that group of consumers whose threshold for quality is different to that of mainstream industry, or even Venture Capitalists. What we need to do in Ireland, is work with a more useful way to define Innovation, as far as Ireland is concerned in 2011. I believe that group of consumers for cheap, lightweight, convenient Innovation aware ‘products’, does exist in Ireland, and furthermore that that group is under served, or perhaps starved at the present moment in time.

    What is that market?

    It is the young, recent graduates from the different faculties all over the country. I can assure you that market place would be a lot easier to serve today, than the existing consumer base of industry professionals, venture captialists and research bodies. Those agencies and sub-agencies and quangos are used to slick, sophisticated stuff. Rather like the consumers of those old vacuum tube RCA products. But they are not the future.

    What I like to do is to imagine the sum of all human knowledge and skill, encapsulated by the Irish university system, as like mainland China. Within mainland China, all of the faculties and disciplines are represented as the different regions, or sub-states of the super state. They all speak in different dialogues. What is required is a single low level protocol that acts as a kind of router between all of the different sub-networks and conversations. That is my definition of Innovation.

    What is Innovation?

    I would describe it using the following sentence. A very basic common dialect (sort of like Mandarin in Chinese) that young graduates from different disciplines (or parts of China) can use to facilitate the boot strapping of methods of cooperation between each other.


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