Where are the Irish?

If we are going to be players in the ‘Innovation Game’ (the only game in town) or in the creative industries (the other ‘only game in town’) we need to position ourselves at the heart of the debate here, on the island and in the world at large. We need to talk among ourselves – that won’t be difficult it is something we are fairly good at – but of course we need to talk to all the other players too. More important than that we need to participate in the activities of the widest useful group – and play the innovation/creative industries game on the same terms as everyone else. This is particularly important when policy is being planned and implemented.

If we want to make a credible statement that ‘Irish Innovators are at the heart of Innovation’ – then we have to put ourselves in the centre … be involved,,, participate.

Missed Opportunity #1

How did the following happen? What does it say about how we are perceived? Why are we always on the ‘back foot’?

The European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General in cooperation with the City of Amsterdam, the European Design Centre and the Association of Dutch Designers organised a workshop in Amsterdam in February 2010. Their website refers to it as follows:

February, The Mayor of the City Of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, welcomed around 75 innovation experts from the creative industries who discussed how to follow a more strategic European approach in support of innovation in creative industries. The seminar discussed the growing economic importance and potential of creative industries for sustainable growth, jobs and innovation and identified key drivers and trends of creative industries and new regional and national policy approaches (and instruments in their support) were presented and policy recommendations discussed. Participation in “Towards a Pan-European initiative in support of innovative creative industries in Europe” was BY INVITATION ONLY.

There is no Irish representative on the list of invited experts. Experts flew from far and wide … but none from Ireland. Don’t we have any? One would be enough. Couldn’t they find one? Were we all too busy? Who protected our interests at this meeting? Who gathered information to share with interested parties back here. Our future is being planned without our involvement!

Missed Opportunity #2

The first ‘WDC World Design Cities Summit’ was held in Seoul in February 2010 with mayors, policymakers and other leading officials from around the world attending. Under the theme of ‘Design and Cities: Designing a Competitive City for the 21st Century,’ the WDC World Design Cities Summit’ was a large-scale international conference and one of official events organized by Seoul City to mark the city’s appointment as the ‘World Design Capital 2010.’ A total of 131 delegates from 31 cities in 17 countries, which have achieved urban development through design or have prioritized design for their future development strategy, attended the summit.

Among the major participating cities were Turin, Helsinki, Eindhoven and five of the seven cities that have won the title of ‘UNESCO City of Design.’ – Montreal, Buenos Aires, Shenzhen, Nagoya and Kobe (Berlin and Shanghai were absent). Eight Chinese cities were represented, including Beijing, which has shown its interest in winning the World Design Capital for 2014.

… but no Irish representative at this important meeting either. Is there a pattern emerging? Are we absenting ourselves? Why?

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