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InterTradeIreland 2014 All-Island Innovation Conference

Trish Gorman pic

30 September 14

Harnessing Productive Disruption within Teams Can Lead to Successful Innovation for Businesses. Disruption, through encouraging your team to blaze a new trail is often more important to commercial success than guiding the team along a familiar path. Recognising and supporting the disruptors in your organisation can lead to successful innovation for businesses, of all sizes.

That was the key message delivered today at University College Dublin by Dr Trish Gorman, a leading business strategy consultant, when she delivered the keynote address at the InterTradeIreland 2014 All-Island Innovation Conference.

The title of her address was ‘Disruptive Tendencies: Harnessing the Innovation Potential of Your Team.’

Dr Gorman is a former Dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a former Academic Director of the Global Consulting Practicum at the Wharton Graduate School of Business. A featured speaker at the World Innovation Forum her industry expertise has been applied in health care, education, energy, professional services, banking/insurance, and manufacturing sectors around the globe. 

Speaking during the conference Dr Gorman said, “To effectively harness the innovation potential of your teams, you cannot just rely on creativity and determination.  Disrupting the status quo is a very different process than providing direction towards existing goals. You need to send clear signals whenever you are seeking higher risk proposals to assure your team that the hurdle rates, timetables, and revenue expectations will not be the same as the guidelines you apply to more routine expansion projects or product extensions.”

She advised companies to, “Put processes in place to help their organisation learn from the inevitable failures that accompany disruptive innovation.  I’ve seen many organisations where people aren’t eager to share their great ideas because they believe that risky new ideas slow or stall a career, while playing it safe gets promoted.  High performing firms often provide a path for non-traditional career tracks.”

She concluded, “I’ve heard quite a few heated debates over management versus leadership, where management meant ‘doing things right’ and leadership meant ‘doing the right things’.  Now it is commonly accepted that both management and leadership competences are vital for success.  It may be time to emphasise a new set of terms: direction versus disruption.  Direction is guiding the team along the path they are on, while disruption is encouraging the team to blaze a new trail.  Each is important and each requires specific skills and approaches.”

Speaking after the conference, Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director, InterTradeIreland said, “Helping companies across the island to successfully put innovation into practice is a key objective for InterTradeIreland. Being able to compete on the basis of innovation capabilities will help companies stay ahead of the competition. During this conference, Dr Gorman has provided important insights on how firms can enhance their capabilities to include disruptive innovation.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “University College Dublin has a successful track record of partnering with business. A key objective for UCD is to take our level of engagement with business, social and cultural enterprises, government agencies and other enterprise stakeholders to a higher level; adding value, expanding networks and exploring new opportunities to deliver impact. Dr Gorman’s innovation lecture has highlighted that for such partnerships to be successful requires our researchers and our partners to work as a team to harness the maximum innovation potential to deliver significant impact for the economy and society.”

During the conference, Gillian Barrett, a PhD student, School of Management and Marketing, University College Cork and Simon Lapointe, an International Masters of Business Administration student, Queen’s University Belfast Management School were jointly presented with the 2014 Marion McAneney Graduate Research Award.

The Award, now in its fourth year, acknowledges excellence in reviewing academic literature on any aspect of innovation and identifying gaps in our understanding.

During the conference a series of industry case studies on the overall theme of ‘harnessing the innovation potential of your team’ were also delivered. Speakers included; Andrew Bolster, founder, Farset Labs; Clare Dillon, Developer Experience Group Lead, Microsoft Ireland;Dr Conor Hanley, President, Cardiology, Strategic Business Unit, ResMed Inc.; Breda Moore, Technical Director, T.E. Laboratories Ltd; Christine Nangle, Product Compliance Director, eDocs and Dr Johnny Ryan, Executive Director, UCD Innovation Academy.

The InterTradeIreland 2014 All-Island Innovation Conference took place as part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme which aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. This Programme is organised by InterTradeIreland, University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork and NUI Galway.