Fostering Innovation in a Time of Economic Crisis

OECD has analysed the likely impact of the current crisis on long-term economic growth and the innovation-related actions in policy responses of its member countries.

You can find the report here

Ireland is not covered in the report. It appears that Ireland has not responded to the questionnaire circulated by the OECD by the cut-off date for this report (early May 2009)

16 replies on “Fostering Innovation in a Time of Economic Crisis”

It’s telling that all the work that supposedly went into the “Building Ireland’s Smart Economy” report in 2008 didn’t extend to filling out a questionnaire that could have helped with the supporting analysis for such a strategy.

@Iulia and Frank Galton

We still have the “It’s good enough” atitude in this country.

How could they respond to the questionnaire?

Upskilling workers! That translates to a basic 6 weeks course in computer literacy.

Green Technology! Insultate houses after they are built.

Smart Economy! Sounds nice, but I suspect their is no supporting strategy as yet.

There was some reference made to having Ireland as a european centre for cloud computing last year.

Writing in the The Times of London, Jonathan Weber compared cloud computing to the centralized systems of the 1950s and 60s, by which users connected through “dumb” terminals to mainframe computers.

In other words, regressive.

I hate to be flippant with such an important issue, but the only piece of innovation to emerge from Ireland in the last few years was our collective desire to have a turkey represent us at the Eurovision song contest.

@ Micheal
Good point
But remember the shopping trolley!
We could have been a Centre of Excellence for Trolley kits
Pimp my trolley!

@ Michael Harvey

Check out

Nicholas G. Carr’s blog. I recommended to the guys at ESB Networks a while back, in particular Carr’s last book, The Big Switch. If nothing else, you might get a couple of good laughs reading Carr. He really takes the cheap shots sometimes. Probably the Irish heritage. ESB Networks are trying to get their heads around the smart meter concept at the moment, whether we end up with 2,2 million PCs all over the country and a system management nightmare – google, windows xp runs the matrix – and you will get the idea. Or do we go down the route of a more central system.

With the electronic voting machines, they put most of the intelligence, or smart-ness, or whatever you want to call it, at the client end I think. I may be incorrect of course. Maybe it was the other way around, they were ‘dumb’ terminals. But in any case we ended up with a stack of them, which we have to pay now to store someplace.

ESB Networks have to wait a bit though, and see what

ESB Networks and Eirgrid, the national grid system operator, based in Ballsbridge have stated publically over the last year, that Ireland will require a lot of engineering graduates to work in these areas. A lot of the questions aren’t formulated correctly even yet, not to mind solutions.

I was reading an article in a UCD magazine today, about the fellow who starts the ‘Masters in Business Administration’ course at UCD. He basically put his university post on the line, to set up the course. BCOMM degrees were considered the bottom of the rung at the time he said in the article. We are probably at about that stage in terms of smart meters and a lot of eco-friendly energy generation. So guy will write an article in 50 years time and tell people, they said I was crazy doing it.

A specific question to all though.

What do you think of this new idea, to abolish tax breaks on royalties?

Will it affect the environment for software businesses in Ireland do you think?

I have circulated this question to at least one British software innovator I know, who is based here in Ireland. I must meet up with him shortly, but his view should be of interest.

Brian O’ Hanlon

Should have finished sentence above.

ESB Networks have to wait a bit though, and see what the USA and the UK do about smart meters. I.e. Whether they go the fat client or thin client route, or some mixture of the two. The management burden arising from that decision is not insignificant.

The aim of a smart meter, one at least, is to inform dwelling occupants or non-domestic building management teams, of their own energy usage profiles. I agree with Michael Harvey though, there may be some glitches with a central system, but then again, it may be easier to update all 2,2 million smart meters also.

Sun Microsystems would say, don’t have hundreds of maintenance guys driving around the country stopping to fiddle with each meter. Or alternatively putting CDROMs through peoples’ letter boxes and requiring them to update their own smart meters!

@ Frank,

Have you read Vincent Browne’s opinion piece in today’s IT?

I wonder, would it be possible if Brian Cowen would publish the makeup of this task force, prior to setting it into motion. This is one area, I would enjoy getting involved with, in some capacity. In fact, not blowing my trumpet, but I would wipe the floor with a lot of experts, in this particular arena.

I wonder what kind of taskforce he intends to put together? I’ll give credit to FF for something though, all of the ‘reports’ and commissions they have tasked with producing stuff this year, has generated discussion. Even if you take Vincent Browne’s criticism that the taskforces are comprised of an inappropriate mix, or you take George Lee’s point, that none of the task forces are communicating with the other taskforces. I.e. No joining-together of the dots.

@Michael Harvey

Your comment about cloud computing being regressive is plain wrong. I suggest you should do some research on this shift in technology which is revolutionising IT.


I work in the sector

I have done the research.

We will just have to agree to disagree. Give it another 3-5 years and we will see who is right.

I inadvertently placed a comment intended for this post under the “article” by Iulia Siedschlag on September 8 entitled “How efficient is public spending on R&D”. My comments deal with aspects of the Finnish research, development and innovation system and address in particular the role played by Tekes , the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. I contrast aspects of the Finnish system with the Irish system and, if I may be so bold, I recommend it to anyone interested in research, development and innovation in Ireland.

@ Con,

I saw the list Con, thanks for that. Reading down through it, it is like a ‘who’s who’ of corporate Ireland. That is the real problem I believe. Where are the dodgy characters such as myself, who are a lot more lightly to ‘break through’ on some front, than any of the comfortable, established characters listed in the taskforce.

I ventured some suggestions and mentions of my experience here:

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