Skibbereen Raises the Flag Once Again!

raomal Blog, Events, Innovation, Startup Leave a Comment

A Skibbereen man, an Irish teacher, Gearoid O’Sullivan raised the national flag over the GPO in Dublin in 1916. A hundred years later a small group of people ([email protected]) is building Ireland’s most high tech town in Gearoid’s home town! Yes, they are raising the flag again, but this time, it is to show the power of market towns.

Technology has freed us from our chains and allowed us to innovate from wherever we are. Amy Wilkinson, in her book the Creator’s Code, talks about Jack Ma. He was an English teacher of modest means in the southern Chinese province of Hangzhou. He had little business experience and few connections in the Chinese government. Yet he launched a new kind of Internet company that became the $216 billion market behemoth Alibaba—the world’s largest business-to-business e-commerce marketplace. What made it possible, for a teacher in rural China, to create a whole new way for his country’s small business owners to gain access to the international marketplace? People often point to entrepreneurs’ resources and personal connections but Jack Ma had neither. It was that he was able to ‘Find the Gap’. David Cameron (UK Prime Minister) has just announced that he has hired Jack Ma to advise him on business.

The group in [email protected] are seeking to demonstrate, as Jack Ma has successfully shown, that innovation can come from any source and anywhere.

I am delighted to be asked to speak at National Digital Week next month (3rd-8th November) in West Cork. This fantastic initiative is bringing together a broad range of world class speakers in what is to become Ireland’s first rural digital hub, in beautiful Skibbereen.

The event will be the perfect launch for the [email protected] plan, which aims to attract 500 high quality jobs to the area by 2020, in 3 state of the art buildings which are being refurbished.

While so much has been made of the Web Summit, which is of course an amazing home-grown phenomenon, I love to see events like National Digital Week coming around in more regional locations with such a strong line-up of speakers, sessions and workshops planned. Ireland is a hive of entrepreneurial ideas and activity, and full of talent that we need to nurture and develop.

Today, a company’s long-term competitive success depends upon its ability to create an innovative business model. Countless innovative business models are emerging.  Entirely new industries are forming as old ones crumble.  New innovation startups are challenging the old ones, some of whom are struggling to reinvent themselves .I am really looking forward to hosting a workshop on business modelling on Friday 6th November during the innovation week in Skibbereen.

Business Model Innovation is about creating value, for companies, customers and society.  It is about replacing outdated models.  The above image summarises exactly why business model innovation is so interesting. With its iPod digital media player and iTunes online store, Apple created an innovative new business model that transformed the company into the dominant force in online music.  Skype brought us cheap global calling rates and free Skype-to-Skype calls with an innovative business model built on peer-to-peer technology.  It is now the world’s largest carrier of international voice traffic. Grameen bank is helping alleviate poverty through an innovative business model that popularised micro lending to the poor.  It’s a business model response to emerging user needs and pressing environmental concerns. [email protected] is reinventing how innovative businesses can start and grow in a beautiful bustling market town!

Find out more about the Ludgate project here.



You may download the presentations from SlideShare.


*Featured Image Source – Collins 22 Society

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