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Joint Irish Times and NUIM Executive Training on Innovation

This executive training course is run jointly by NUI Maynooth and the Irish Times. The schedule is as follows:

Friday April 16 AM Orientation Course Structure
Friday April 16 PM Orientation Key Challenges
Friday April 23 AM Module 1 Managing Innovation
Friday April 23 PM Module 2 Financing Innovation
Friday May 7 AM Module 3 Communication
Friday May 7 PM Module 4 Networking
Friday May 14 AM Module 5 Developing Strategic Capacity
Friday May 14 PM Module 6 Project Reports

The detailed programme can be downloaded here. The bios of all trainers can be downloaded here. Anyone interested in taking part should get in touch with the organizer Bob Lawlor.

The module on ‘Innovation Financing’ will be provided by Patrick Crehan and is structured in 3 parts:

  • What does innovation finance pay for?

  • What are the specific needs of business ventures and start-ups?

  • How is this different for mature organisations?

Innovation is no longer seen as an internal activity of the organization, but as a series of activities dispersed throughout its entire supply-chain or value-network. It is not understood in terms of new products alone, but also in terms of new services, processes and business models, new forms of organization, and even new tools, methods and practices of management. This has important consequences for questions concerning what activities need to be financed by innovation finance, where the finance comes from, and how it is managed. This module is intended to clarify these issues. It does not aim to be exhaustive. It intends, in a way that is practical and useful, to help managers ask the right questions about innovation financing and involve the right people in finding answers.

  • The activities that constitute innovation vary considerably from sector to sector. They depend on whether the ‘client’ is another business or an individual consumer. They depend on whether the innovation process is led by a start-up or by a mature organization.

Part 1: It is not easy to apply cost-benefit analysis to innovation financing. There is a tendency to think of innovation in a research-centric way, but most inventions are carried out in the field of work, in a factory or on an assembly line, with partners or with clients. In most organizations these costs do not appear on any budget for research or innovation. This is referred to as ‘hidden innovation’. It is only one of the reasons why it is easy to under-estimate the cost of an innovation or overlook much of the value it creates and there are many more. This module helps to clarify what innovation finance needs to pay for.

Part 2: New ventures and start-ups pass through distinct phases of development and their needs vary along with each transition. Patrick Crehan describes a typical start-up, its growth journey and the major hurdles it faces as it moves towards maturity. He focuses on the very early stages of development. In particular the innovation financing needs associated with the marketing of new ideas. He explains the role of boards and the importance of ‘smart-money’. He talks about sources of finance and other support that include free-rooms, rich-uncles, research grants, incubators as well as seed, angel and venture funding.

Part 3: The innovation game is very different for mature organisations, especially in non science-based businesses. Patrick describes how the game is different. He explains how even cash-rich companies, and those that spend significant sums of money on formal research laboratories, can experience great difficulty in financing innovation. Their problems tend to stem from gaps in strategy and weaknesses in organization. Patrick describes these problems and provides examples of how they can be successfully addressed. Mature companies don’t just require financing for innovation projects and programmes but for structures, infrastructures and processes that extend beyond the organization to what is effectively a global innovation supply chain. This is all about the financing of ‘open innovation’. Patrick introduces tools to help organize and finance innovation in a way that SYSTEMATIC, OPEN and COMPLETE.


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