All posts by Ronan Quinn

REDS DCU Group D is made up of 4 participants on the Ryan Academy Business Innovation Programme 7. They are Denise, Shay, Evelyn and Ronan Quinn. The Ryan Academy is affiliated with DCU, Dublin City University, Ireland

Disruptive Innovation and Irish Universities post-Leporte

This is an excellent read. Brian Lucey believes Irish universities should cautiously move into a new space caused by disruptive innovation only when it is clear that the disruption is permanent. This means abandoning the first mover advantage. Is this wise? Read it, and decide for yourself.

Brian M. Lucey

History and business are rarely taught or even studied together. That’s a pity. Economic history, as  subject, has disappeared down the memory hole. What is more worrying perhaps is that the methods of historical analysis, careful source text reinterpretations, critical data analysis and a cool analysis, are not often applied to business. Enter Jill Lepore, a Harvard historian, to remind us why this ahistorical business analysis is a weak approach

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Google’s top lawyer explains dilemma over EU’s “right to be forgotten” law

This will be interesting news for the Data Commissioner Billy Hawkes in Ireland. It looks like this story will roll on for some time to come!


Google(s goog) is unsure how to apply “very vague and subjective tests” to the more than 70,000 removal requests that have landed on its doorstep in the wake of a recent court ruling, according to the company’s chief legal officer, David Drummond.

In a Guardian article titled “We need to talk about the right to be forgotten,” Drummond sheds new light on a controversial legal process that lets EU citizens order Google to remove search listings they dislike. Drummond described who is coming out of the woodwork to demand takedowns, and the dilemma Google faces:

former politicians wanting posts removed that criticise their policies in office; serious, violent criminals asking for articles about their crimes to be deleted; bad reviews for professionals like architects and teachers; comments that people have written themselves (and now regret). In each case someone wants the information hidden, while others might argue that it should be out in the open.

According to…

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The Star-Spangled Banner: Why 15 Stars and 15 Stripes?

Happy 4th of July to all our U.S. family and friends!

Maryland in the War of 1812

On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia representing the thirteen colonies then situated along the eastern seaboard with the exception of Maine (1820) and Florida (1845) passed the following resolution:

“Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

Eighteen years later the U.S. Flag Act of January 13, 1794 was signed by President George Washington altering the flag design with the admission of Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792) into the Union providing for fifteen stripes as well as fifteen stars.

“An Act making an alteration in the Flag of the United States Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, That from and after the first day of May, Anno Domini, one thousand seven…

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Top Tweets Of June 2014 Innovation Marketing Tech Fun #MG119


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Disruptive Innovation Is Challenging The Old European Banking Model

Disruptive Innovation Is Challenging The Old European Banking Model

These days, ensuring your old fashioned bank is well capitalized enough to deal with more realistic, but still moderate stress tests is a major priority. But just when you think you have put out the fire, the entire structure of the banking model becomes disrupted and structurally unsound.

Lower barriers to entry in terms of financing, securing  banking licenses,  cheaper to source banking software and cheap human resources means it’s never been easier to cherry pick the most lucrative products banks are offering to customers today. The net result? It leaves the unprofitable products to the old dogs to chew on.

And therein lies the problem. How the existing banking industry responds to these disruptive threats will decide their fate. Perhaps they will seek to aggressively promote the concept of a cashless society (yet again), so that the public will once more feel tied into using their services. Deloitte UK produced a nice SlideShare (see below) to illustrate the pressures the traditional banking model now is under.



What next for the establishment banks of Europe?

Former Midland Bank, 100 King Street
Former Midland Bank Banking Hall, King Street (David Dixon) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Top Tweets Of The Week #MG119 (7)

 Top Tweets of the Week on Innovation

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How Tim Ferriss Used Innovation To Growth Hack 4 Hour Chef

Tim Ferris is known for challenging long held assumptions about skills, business and everything else in between. In his latest book he uses the popular vehicle of cooking to impart what he’s learned about meta learning and how you can employ it in your life. But promoting and selling a book amid the din of the publishing circuit is tough at the best of times.

The 4 hour work week         Source: Flickr / Tim Ferriss

Bricks and mortar retail bookstores for the most part refused to stock his book over their objections to it being one of the very first Amazon Publishing releases, which threatened the traditional publishing business model. Tim Ferriss needed to find ways he could reach out to his readership that he had built up through the hugely successful book releases of the The 4 Hour Work Week and The 4 Hour Body as well as find new readers.

The 4 Hour Body                                      Source: Flickr / Tim Ferriss

So when faced with being locked out of the traditional retail bookstore distribution channel and with few other outlets to promote his book, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Ferriss took an unconventional route to promoting and publishing, turning the industry on its head in the process.

This situation led to lots of research using innovative tools and techniques not usually applied to a business sector like publishing to look at alternative routes to market.

Finally he hit on something thanks to some advice from a friend. He needed to growth hack, but lacked a vehicle. Ferriss made a call to BitTorrent and talked over his solution with them. If he gave an electronic version of the book away for free using the power of P2P torrents sharing online, more people would engage with the book, and through this re-engineered sales funnel, would pay for the hard copy paper version to accompany the electronic versions as many people still prefer the physical user experience of paper and ink.

BitTorrent                                                                                                                                 Source: Flickr BitTorrent

Soon after that call, he signed an agreement with BitTorrent that suited both parties. Here was a rare enough win-win. BitTorrent were seeking to expand their offering as a legal content distribution network for marketing books. And Tim Ferriss found a new route to promoting his content. Nobody was sure what would happen next.

Something magical happened. Amazingly, after launching the free e-book version (with exclusive online only content), sharing of the torrent grew massively in a short period of time with over 2 million downloads. The click through rate was over 210,000 downloads in the first week alone. The conversion rate was a previously unheard of conversion rate of 45%.

The most exciting thing of all was that leaving a clear landing page on the BitTorrent site with a link to the Amazon site where people could purchase the physical book or content bundle strongly resonated with readers worldwide, resulting in a staggering click through rate and purchase of over half a million hard copy versions in a short space of time. This stunned both Tim Ferris and Amazon as normal click through rates would be a fraction of what the 4 hour Chef book achieved. BitTorrent also got what they wanted out of the deal.

Essentially Ferriss has taken a medium of P2P torrent sharing which is attacked and feared by traditional media in equal measure, and harnessed its tremendous growth hacking power to reach millions of potential customers extremely quickly, efficiently and effectively better than anyone before. The book also reached the top of all major hard copy book selling charts around the world.  This innovative approach was lauded in business circles for its impressive ROI (return on investment), and has created a blueprint in the publishing industry of how to leverage digital distribution methods in an innovative way.


Customers today are consuming media on multiple platforms, and appreciate getting perceived added value that enhances their user experience. Those who recognize and offer an easy way to consume their media on multiple platforms using innovative methods will win.

What are your thoughts on the post? Did we miss an angle or hit the spot? If so, we’d love your feedback !  Oh and sharing is caring 🙂             ______________________________________________________________________________Sources

Innovation in Financial Services – Future Bank and the role of the ecosystem

Innovation in Financial Services

I attended the 1st Inaugural Future Bank summit in Croke Park, Dublin on Thursday last. The view from the Hogan Stand mezzanine allowed me to see Sky Sports shooting promos of a Clare hurler and a Dublin footballer shooting at goal. GAA coverage in this country is going to get disrupted in a big way when Sky enters the fray, bringing their technical expertise and stunning visuals to our national games. Inside in the conference venue, the message was much the same. Banking (both internationally and locally) is set to be severely disrupted by new technologies and business models in the next decade, and incumbents will have to fight very hard to keep market share and, perhaps, even stay in business. The line-up of speakers was excellent throughout and I don’t have time to discuss all of the presentations I saw, but I would like to blog a little…

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Top Tweets Of The Week #MG119 (6)

Top Tweets of the Week on Innovation


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Sectoral Analysis of Avoca Handweavers -Part 3 – [3 Part Series]

Blogpost Part 3 covers the main findings derived from the analysis, how they may impact Avoca’s business and what steps they need to consider in order to meet these challenges into the future.   

Blogpost Part 1 gives a high level overview of the sectoral analysis conducted to date on the business environment of Avoca Handweavers

Blogpost Part 2 highlights the main points of the PESTLE analysis undertaken, and then guides you through a more detailed PESTLE analysis of the external business environment of Avoca _________________________________________________________________________

We’ve seen the high level view of the sector in which Avoca operates in blogpost 1 of this series. We also looked at the highlights of of a detailed PESTLE analysis in blogpost 2. In this third and final blogpost of the series, we look at where Avoca may need to focus on now in terms of meeting the current and future challenges of the business in the business environment in which it operates.

Source: Flickr

From the application and analysis of the SWOT, PESTLE, Porters 5 Forces and various other models used, it is evident that Avoca will need to address a number of aspects around the the external environment of their business.

They  need to budget for any increase in VAT on the services sector as although lobbying through industry groups can help there is no certainty the tax rate of 9% will be maintained into the future.


The same applies for business and service rates which will rise in the near future as the effect of the recent Local Government Reform Act 2014 will mean the local government bodies and not the Irish Government, will need to raise more revenue to fund day to day operations.

Avoca, like other businesses in retail today, will need to recognize the key drivers for change, especially in the technological areas. Greater investment in I.T. will need to be made in order to meet the future needs, requirements and expectations of their customers and suppliers.

Payments collage

Innovations in mobile point of sale and other 1 touch payment solutions means Avoca and the rest of the retail sector need to start now to scale up their Ecommerce capabilities in order to substantially future proof their business.

Another key area that Avoca needs to be more focused upon is the existing legal structure of the company. If Avoca plan to scale the business and grow, then greater clarity around its legal construct is needed if they are to try and raise finances from private equity funds or venture capitalists.

A major driver for change is the resurgence of the commercial property market in Dublin. Avoca have some upwards only leases and the profits they have been using to expand the business organically may be soaked up once more in higher rents and rates. They will need to prepare for this key driver by perhaps decoupling or divesting part of the overall business in order to minimize exposure to risk.


Sources: [ONLINE] Available at:     ,35715,en.pdf.           [Accessed 12 April 2014].