Thought leaders travelled to Donegal this month for an inspiring ‘Competing Together’ conference at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) DICE Research Centre.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IE) Conference took place at the Letterkenny campus on 5 December 2022.
This hybrid event invited individuals and businesses of all sizes in the west and northwest to join in the discussion around key issues facing industry across the region.
The IE conference focused on the twin pillars of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and offered high level debates on the challenges brought about by digitalisation, the green transition, demographic change, and globalisation. Thought leaders, along with panel members from industry and government support agencies, explored how this region can collectively lead the way in innovation, technological development, entrepreneurship teaching, entrepreneurship research and public-private co-creation to sustain and accelerate an inclusive and resilient economy.
Méabh Conaghan, Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland and panelist at the conference remarked, “The ATU faculty of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship conference was exceptional in a sense that we were able to listen to an impressive line-up of speakers such as Professor Peter Kawalek, Professor Stephen Kinsella, and Warren Bramley. The rich and frank panel discussions on several important issues for the region helped us all to understand each other’s perspectives. It was indeed a great day with plenty of interesting insights. Conferences like these are exceptionally important for the region highlighting lots of opportunity for further collaborations and developments.”
Professor Peter Kawalek is Director of the Centre for Information Management at the Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, Professor of Strategy and Information Systems at Manchester University Business School and was keynote speaker at the first session of the Innovation Conference. Prof. Kawalek is an internationally renowned academic and thought leader in innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology. His topic, ‘New Models of Disruption’ ignited the debate about how enterprises should consider their value propositions off the back of these industry disruptors. Peter shared multiple examples of potentially interoperable disruptors affecting value-chains and profit-pools in Finance and Insurance, challenging the audience to consider how they could consider competing together to expand markets.
‘What Happens When Everyone Designs’ was another thought-provoking discussion, led by Warren Bramley. Warren’s career has placed him at the intersection of design, music, culture and business innovation and gave the audience insights into the ownership economy, Web3 and the importance of inviting people into the process to co-create. Warren discussed mega trends and drew attention to the importance of having a networked mindset.
Professor Stephen Kinsella then presented on the major forces of change as we move towards 2030, digitization, skills shortages, growing productivity gaps and more. Ireland’s position in global supply chains and Ireland’s sources of productivity were discussed. Key success factors for different industries, and commonalities for multiple industries were identified, a debate on what this means for Irish Enterprises and how they will succeed in the future ensued.
Panel members from Udaras na Gaeltachta, the Alpha Innovation Centre, Enterprise Ireland, Donegal County Council, Western Development Commission, and the Local Enterprise Office focused on collaboration and opportunities across the region. On the day it was clear that the appetite to work collectively is present and that it is very possible for the Atlantic Technological University to seize the opportunity in bridging the gap between academia, private industry, and the variety of agencies in highlighting the region on a global scale.
The various speakers offered great insight and challenged the audience to consider new ways of working to build the innovation capacity of the region to ensure its competitiveness, and it was clear from the further discussion, that the Atlantic Technological University has a key role in collaborating with the various stakeholders across the region – from Galway to Donegal.