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Leading Business Innovation 2019

22nd October 2019 – Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny



Registration, Refreshments, Networking & Exhibition Showcase



Welcome & Overview

Denis Hayes – Managing Director, IRDG



KEYNOTE: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Darrell Mann – CEO, Systematic Innovation

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To paraphrase Tolstoy, ‘all happy change projects are alike; each unhappy one is unhappy in its own way’. Examine enough sustainability, disruptive technology and enterprise scale-up projects, and a clear pattern of success emerges: they all involve a discontinuous jump from one way of conducting business to another, and that somewhere in the fog and uncertainties of the transition an ordeal is encountered and successfully endured. It is the same pattern Joseph Campbell uncovered in his study of the world’s classic literature.

By understanding the Journeys made by Luke Skywalker, Steve Jobs, Miles Davis, Leopold Bloom or Anna Karenina, the presentation proposes, we can gain deep insight into the fundamental, first-principle characteristics of any successful change and innovation initiative.



Was the Chinese Crossbow the first Disruptive Technology?

Professor Bernard Carlson – Engineering, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at University of Virginia & NUI Galway

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During the Warring States Era [~475-221 BCE], Chinese society collapsed into a series of city states which fought continuously with each other.  During this era, the crossbow came into wide use, accelerating the political turmoil since it put tremendous killing power literally in the hands of thousands of soldiers.  In this talk, I will touch on the development of this weapon [it was the first technology with interchangeable parts], but more importantly, I will explore how the first emperor of China struggled to control this technology and that control only came with the articulation of a new Confucian political ideology in the early Tang Dynasty.

This story raises interesting questions about how we want to think about the management of new disruptive technologies and what different societies are willing to do to capture the value of innovation while minimizing the social costs.



Leaders’ Insights Forum - Digital Transformation

Claire Penny, Commercial Director, Wia together with Claire Phelan, Head of Operations, Senior Director UPMC Ireland; Aldagh McDonogh, CEO, Morgan McKinley; Tom O’Sullivan, IT Director, Dell Technologies; Domhnall Carroll, Country Lead Digital Industries, Siemens Ireland and Aisling Quinn, Co-founder of MoShoppa and Head of Marketing & Sales for VideoRankMe.

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The future of industry is digital. Progress in technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and robotics, the Internet of Things and high-performance computing is already transforming the very nature of work and society as a whole. Innovation today, from manufacturing 4.0 to improving customer experience, has a very high digital element. This theme will explore the digital challenges and strategies from a cross-section of Irish business leaders.



Refreshments, Networking & Exhibition Showcase



Building More Value to Customers with Less Resources

Deirdre Ryan – Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Lidl Ireland



Leaders’ Insights Forum - Innovation for a Sustainable World

Mike Higgins, Founder & Managing Consultant, Circularwise together with Deirdre Ryan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Lidl Ireland; Padraig Murphy, Design for Sustainability, Logitech; Paul Kenny, CEO, Tipperary Energy Agency and Timmy Carey, Associate Director, EHS&S, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals

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Research professionals are facing increasing pressure to develop innovative solutions that both urgently decarbonise their operations and successfully decouple future industrial growth from the consumption of diminishing natural resources.  A paradigm shift is occurring as environmental risk is transferring into identifiable economic and financial risks.

The Sustainability Leaders discussion will cover such topics as;

  • Renewable energy and carbon reduction advances
  • Circular Economy based product design and supply-chain innovation
  • Waste stream transformation and by-product development
  • Increasing financial markets focus on sustainability performance.



KEYNOTE: Formula 1 – Innovation in the Fast Lane

Mark Gallagher – Performance Insights & Formula One

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Innovation has always been key to achieving success in the sport of Formula 1. Teams spend up to 30% of their budget on R&D and integrate technologies from aerospace, automotive and ICT to create a new car each year. Each team is an engineering company, creating compliant, lightweight, high performance solutions in an environment where lead times are short, budgets capped and deadlines fixed.

The last 20 years have seen major changes, with digital transformation enabling teams to manage risk, optimise performance and drive quality in ways which were previously unimaginable. The business model has also evolved, with teams developing innovative products and services for commercial clients in sectors including healthcare, aerospace, automotive, defense and pharmaceuticals. Scaling their businesses has challenged Formula 1 teams, moving from low volume prototype manufacturing to larger scale production. It has been a challenge worth meeting, as teams see profitability grow and a more sustainable business model develop.



Refreshments, Networking, Exhibition Showcase & Innovator in Residence session



From Bagels to Brands: Two Decades of Innovation & Change

Peaches Kemp – Co-Founder of Itsa Bagel



Leaders’ Insights Forum - Scaling SME Excellence

Pete Smyth, Founder & CEO, Broadlake together with Michael Hoyne, Founder, Merlyn; Leo MacCanna, CEO, Ocuco; Edmond Harty, CEO, Dairymaster and Peaches Kemp, Co-Founder, Itsa Bagel

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Ireland has some notable SME exemplars that have scaled internationally through customer-focus, innovation and operational excellence. However, a 2019 OECD report has found that most Irish SMEs are weak or underperforming in a number of key areas including exports, internationalisation, digitalisation, innovative collaboration, and financial skills. A distinguished panel of successful entrepreneurs will share their experiences and explore how more Irish SME can scale the heights of success.



KEYNOTE: Why Great Leaders Must Unlearn To Succeed In Today’s Exponential World

Barry O’Reilly – Business Advisor, Entrepreneur, Faculty Singularity University and Author of Unlearn

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Effective leadership comes with a large learning curve. In today’s rapidly-evolving business climate, this is more true than ever for seasoned leaders and entrepreneurs alike.

Many leaders rely too heavily on past achievements, practices, and ways of thinking to drive positive business results today, but they often need to unlearn those behaviors before they can take a step forward.

Barry breaks down a transformative framework that shows leaders how to rethink their strategies, retool their capabilities, and revitalize their businesses for stronger, longer-lasting success. He shows leaders and entrepreneurs how to deliberately move away from once-useful mindsets and outdated behaviors that were effective in the past and embrace new behaviors that are effective in a world ripe with emerging technologies and accelerated change.

  • Learn to use a systematic approach to adapting your behaviours and mindset in order to meet the demands of an exponential rate of innovation.
  • Discover how to let go, reframe, and rethink past successes in order to succeed in the future.
  • Identify and address the personal obstacles that you need to unlearn.

Challenge your thinking, get outside your comfort zone, and achieve results beyond what you thought was possible.



Closing Remarks






IRDG Annual General Meeting will follow the conference.