Re-Imagining Irish Innovation Policy: Re-Claiming Innovation for Business – Dr Declan Jordan, University College Cork

Ireland’s ‘smart economy’ drive is running up against the realities of our fiscal crisis. While taxpayers’ funds must always be allocated effectively, the requirement to do so is even more pressing in the current economic context. This paper questions the emphasis on science-push innovation policies in Ireland since the start of the century. Not only are these policies unlikely to produce desired and needed outcomes in terms of growth and jobs, they threaten to undermine broader attempts to support business in an increasingly competitive global economy. This is because they fail to appreciate the economics underpinning innovation and knowledge in a market economy and that innovation is a business phenomenon. Successful innovation requires contributions from managers, salespeople and customers just as much, if not more than, researchers and scientists. Drawing on empirical evidence from Ireland and economic theory, the paper questions the current science-push model and suggests an alternative framework upon which innovation policy can more effectively be based.
Before joining the Department of Economics in UCC in 2003, Declan Jordan gained substantial management and corporate experience working in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and with Intel Ireland. Declan’s research interests include innovation, regional development and competitiveness, business performance and strategy, and innovation and enterprise policy. Declan lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and also organises Executive Workshops in Innovation for Competitiveness. He is a frequent contributor to media debates on the Irish economy and innovation/science policy.