Services Innovation was the key topic at the Industry Research & Development Group (IRDG) seminar in Waterford last week, which was organised in association with the South East Chambers and attracted delegates from companies of all sectors and sizes.

Expertise to support Research and Development in Services, funding to ensure companies can be innovative and case studies demonstrating that research collaboration really can bring commercial benefit were highlighted through a series of short presentations.

Innovation comes from lots of places; customers, employees, clients, academia and partners. As business leaders you must utilise the best skills, knowledge and expertise you can, and don’t be afraid to outsource your Research and Development”.

This was the message from the keynote speaker, Michael Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of Abtran who are leaders in outsourced business processes and employ over 1,000 people in Cork. Through substantial collaborative links with UCC and financial support from Enterprise Ireland, Abtran are on a journey of continuous innovation in services, are exemplars in their field, and have recently established their own Innovation & Learning Centre in-house.

Speaking at the event, Denis Hayes, MD of IRDG said; “67% of the value added in Ireland is now in the services sector, a sector which is becoming ever more important to the future of our economy. Innovation in Services therefore is fast becoming a constant as businesses aim to meet the ongoing, ever present, and insatiable demands from customers, users and providers. People need to think and look outside their organisations to find the skills, expertise and funding to assist them to grow and develop their businesses.”

The case studies presented by ZolkC and Abtran both highlighted the significant expertise, skills and funding made available to them as they undertook collaborative research projects with the third level institutes, including RIKON, TSSG and UCC. Without this external intervention, both companies acknowledge that business success would have been far more challenging, and maybe even impossible.

In his opening remarks, Michael Garland, Chairperson of South East Chambers spoke of the need to push the business agenda in the South East. He highlighted the importance of seminars such as this and the benefits of coming together, to learn, to network and to get ideas from experienced guest speakers, which on this occasion included Enterprise Ireland, Innovation Delivery, the RIKON Group & TSSG at WIT, ZolkC and Abtran.

This Enterprise Innovation Network (EIN) event was supported by Enterprise Ireland.


Note – A selection of presentations are available on an individual basis only by request to Mary Byrne at IRDG.  Remaining presentations are available by following the link above.


Our thanks to South East Chambers; Keith Finglas, Innovation Delivery; John Smith, Enterprise Ireland; Clare Flinders, RIKON; Barry Downes, TSSG; Paul Savage, ZolkC and Michael Fitzgerald, Abtran.  


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