Ireland Urged to Focus on Business Competitiveness and Excellence

An Taoiseach welcomes establishment of Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland)

A globally-renowned competitiveness organisation is setting up shop in the Republic of Ireland to replicate its success north of the border in key sectors of the Irish economy, it is announced today.

Launch of Centre for Competitiveness Ireland

Having helped hundreds of Northern Ireland organisations to achieve world-class standards of business excellence for over 20 years, the Centre for Competitiveness is now establishing an office in the Republic of Ireland.

A founding member of the Global Federation of Competitive Councils and a partner of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), the new Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) will be located at the CityWest Business Centre, in Dublin, and will promote and implement EFQM’s highly regarded Business Excellence Framework in key sectors and organisations.

The CCI will also provide a range of management development programmes, workshops and consultancy services, designed to improve management and leadership competences; as well as a suite of strategic innovation and organisational performance solutions.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D welcomed the establishment of the CCI.  He said: “I would like to wish all those involved in the new Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) the best of luck as they establish their Dublin office.  I have no doubt you can achieve the same success as you have in other jurisdictions in promoting competitiveness and excellence in business.”

To this end, the CCI will work closely with industry associations, hotel groups, tourism enterprises, SMEs, retailers, government agencies, local government, and trade bodies. A series of workshops on the EFQM Business Excellence framework and its application to these organisations and their management teams will be held nationwide during October 2014. They begin tomorrow (16 October, 2014) at the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley.

Chief Executive Officer of EFQM, Marc Amblard, said: “The EFQM Excellence Framework is used by over 30,000 organisations across Europe, and we are delighted to work with the Centre for Competitiveness (Ireland) to enable many more businesses and their leaders on the island of Ireland to benefit from its potential to significantly boost their performance.   The Centre’s success and expertise are recognised across Europe and beyond, and I have no doubt that their presence in the Republic of Ireland will bring considerable benefits to many Irish organisations. Regardless of sector, size, structure or maturity, organisations need to establish appropriate management systems in order to be successful. The EFQM Excellence Framework is a practical tool to help organizations do this by measuring where they are on the path to excellence; helping them understands the gaps; and then stimulating solutions”.

Bob Barbour, CforC Chief Executive, says: “Our focus will be to promote and implement the EFQM Framework in a range of businesses and sectors in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on improving management practices, organisational systems and processes and business excellence. Organisations who meet the criteria for business excellence are assessed against international criteria and are accredited and recognised by the EFQM at an annual awards ceremony. The benefits of accreditation are substantial as it provides an international symbol and benchmark, especially for tourism organisations, seeking to source international leisure and business markets.”

The Brussels-based Chief Executive Officer of EFQM, Marc Amblard, and the Chief Executive of CforC, Bob Barbour, officiated at the launch of CCI, by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny Government Buildings.

‘European Entrepreneurship & Innovation @ Stanford

We are pleased to announce that speaker videos of all 8 ‘European Entrepreneurship & Innovation @ Stanford’ (ME421 ) sessions from Winter 2013 are now available online at our new YouTube channel:

Please be sure to *Subscribe* to this channel on YouTube if you would like to be informed when we upload additional videos for next year (2014), and for 2012 and prior years in the coming weeks and months.

Speaker presentation slides, session photos and bios can be viewed at our Course Website:

These are well worth checking out!


We would like to recognize and thank our 2013 European government partners, and our Silicon Valley industry partner, for their support of this lecture series:


European Government Partners: 


* VINNOVA, Stockholm, Sweden (‪

* Invest Northern Ireland, San Jose, CA | Belfast, UK (‪

* Enterprise Estonia – Silicon Valley | Tallinn, Estonia (

Industry Partner: 


* Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – Silicon Valley (‪


* Course LinkedIn Group:

* Facebook Group:

* Twitter: @StanfordEuropreneurs: ‪


Stanford Mechanical Engineering – Center for Design Research, Design Group (‪

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to seeing you again for our first 2014 speaker session starting in early January.

best regards,

Dr. Burton H. Lee PhD MBA

Stanford School of Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

European Entrepreneurship & Innovation




Skype: innovarium


Where Art And Literature Fuse With Science And Engineering

Where Art And Literature Fuse With Science And Engineering

Dr Adrian Gundy

A re-print of my original contribution to the book The Future of Innovation in 2009. You can read all the entries here, The Future of Innovation

Innovation is a word that sparks off great debate and discussion wherever it is mentioned in any place in the world. It means different things to different people, can be measured differently, and innovation success can be measured in many different ways. It is a word of great mystery, a word that creates some tension and division, as people use it to describe the different things that they wish to do. Today we have conflict, or least a divergence of opinion. As I reflect into the future, I see the same thing continuing.

So, am I really saying that innovation will not develop or change in the next 3 to 5 years? No, not all. The winners in innovation will be those people who can understand it enough to be able to use it in the workplace to solve problems and create opportunities. Innovation can be done by people, who are very highly educated, or with well-developed technical skills, or with people who have little or no education, in a formal sense, but they do require training to acquire the new innovation skill set. Future successes will be delivered through a potent mixture of different people with different expectations and experiences sharing together.

Where I think the conflict and disagreement of how innovation works will be most pronounced or seen is in the area of what we call ‘Open Innovation’ — the idea of sharing with others from outside of your organisation and your normal areas of work and influence. Already there are examples where this collaborative innovation has been very successful for example the Chinese motorcycle industry. However people often get hung up on nondisclosure agreements and intellectual property, and these are the barriers to open innovation — a lack of trust and missing personal synergies.

Some of these new open innovation opportunities may well be found in the collaboration of the Arts and Literature with Science and Engineering; or in the joining together of Business and the Community; Government and the Citizen. I suppose you could say it is the next stage development of PPP — Public Private Partnership, which has its fans and critics, its successes and its failures. The point is, it is when you meet and match people from different interests, geographies, histories and experiences, skill sets and expectations then you get the friction for creating ideas that genuinely take you to new and different places, and this is where the breakthrough innovation that creates enormous new wealth is to be found.

Some say it is in the area of business model design that is where innovation is developing. I see this aspect of innovation as providing the clues and pointers to the skills that we need to take innovation to this new level. But I believe it will be the fusion of business model and open innovation that will be the source of the new ground breaking, innovation breakthroughs.

Original Article © 2009 Dr Adrian Gundy. All rights reserved.


The Authority on New Product Development

New Product Development is one of the most important challenges

pdma book coverfacing organisations today — The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) Handbook of New Product Development 3rd Edition provides an exceptional review of cutting edge topics for both new and experienced product development leaders. It offers a comprehensive and updated guide to the practices, processes and tools critical to achieving and sustaining new product/service development success in today’s world, delivering valuable information about the fundamentals as well as emerging practices such as venturing, virtual product development and the use of social media in NPD.

As the premier global advocate for professionals and organizations working in the fields of new product/service development, PDMA has assembled in the Handbook unique content on the critical aspects of product development success including its 2012 Best Practices Research, Lessons Learned from its Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Winners and keys to success from organizations with proven innovation track records. The 3rd Edition is an essential reference for anyone with responsibility for product development activities, from novices looking for fundamentals to experts seeking insights on emerging concepts, and is relevant for all functions and all product/service industries.

Kenneth B. Kahn is Professor and Director of the daVinci Center for Innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University

To order visit or

ISBN: 978-0-470-64820-9, Hardcover, 504 pages,

You can join the Irish and UK Affiliate of PDMA here  We have an active LinkedIn community and host regular events in Belfast and Dublin.


Case Study in Driving SME Growth….


PROGRAMME CASE STUDY – 1 NOVEMBER 2012 TO 31st December 2012

Project Title – thinkBIG:thinkINNOVATION Programme

 Background and Context

This was an EU and DETI-NI part funded programme led by Coleraine Borough Council in partnership with the Centre for Competitiveness.  In line with the programme objectives, ten companies were recruited at the start of the programme. Business baseline profiles were conducted for all 10 participating companies. This profile was the Business Juggler, details are to be found at The Business Juggler report is a 22 page document that sets out: –

i.         Simple benchmark of performance

ii.         Identified 9 areas of strength that can be developed into areas of Competitive Advantage

iii.         Identified 9 Areas of relative Weaker Performance to be developed and improved

iv.         A total of 18 suggestions for performance improvement to kick-start the conversation on Improvement Action Plans

v.         An action plan template

vi.         A comprehensive list of European Best and Better Practice indicators of performance

From the discussions around the Juggler report, a SMARTened action plan is developed with a clear focus through: –

i.         Specific

ii.         Measurable

iii.         Achievable

iv.         Realistic

v.         Time bound

Mentoring Support Delivered

Mentoring was delivered to all participating companies at 24 hours per company, meeting the programme target. In addition, an extra 59 hours of mentoring was delivered to the participating companies.

Best Practice Visits

The programme permitted one best practice, or similar, visit per participating company. The value of visits out to other companies or organisations cannot be underestimated. It always proves to be a source of ideas for improvement and growth.

Summary of Programme Impact of Benefits

At the completion of the programme, a comprehensive ‘Distance Travelled’ form was completed with each participant, which clearly captured all the programme impact, short-term benefits and longer-term outcomes. This is summarised as follows: –






2012 2011 +/- % Products Lines Variations Projects Value New Jobs










+9 F/T &

+20 P/T


How satisfied were you with the programme?

How satisfied were you with the mentor?

How would you rate the value of the programme?

How would you rate the effectiveness of the programme?

Have you or your business benefitted from the programme?

Would you recommend the programme to others?

Total Average





100% Yes

100% Yes

– The programme recorded a total of £88,000 of direct cost savings as a result of improvements and projects.JOBS – It is clear that the programme has had impact and brought many different benefits to all of the participants. Overall job creation was +9 Full Time and +20 Part Time new jobs.

SALES INCREASE – The programme recorded an increase of +5.2% sales increase, which equates to an extra £414,000

COMPANY SATISFACTION – 100% of participating companies received benefit and would recommend the programme.


Overall, it can be said that the programme went very well. In fact it can be considered as a Best Practice case study in the design and delivery of a company growth programme for small and medium sized companies delivered in partnership with a local council. It has applications Ireland-wide, as well as in the UK and further afield.

The question to ask is – ‘Why has this programme been successful when many similar programmes are, at best, average, and often ineffective?’ The answer lies in our experience to design a programme that is relevant and built upon proven method, uses talented people as mentors, and is well managed.

From a programme performance perspective, the metrics are impressive, increased turnover, reduced costs and job creation.

It is true of any programme of this type, when working with a range of companies of different sectors, maturity stages, sizes and experience, that not all companies will benefit in the same way. Some companies may have recorded a decline in sales or fortunes if they had not participated in the programme. It is therefore noteworthy that 100% of companies said they benefited and would recommend the programme to others. Also, the satisfaction levels were all above 75%. The reported creation of 9 F/T and 20 P/T jobs is also a strong indicator of performance.

Companies have been signposted to other opportunities where it is hoped they will continue their journey on using innovation to drive business improvement and business growth.

Dr Adrian Gundy.

Centre for Competitiveness.

1st March 2013.