How to Innovate the Newspaper Industry? Part 1 of 2

Have newspapers written their own obituary?  Many industries are having a tough time, but the newspaper business must be amongst the very hardest hit. Monks working painstakingly on complex, decorative manuscripts in European monasteries didn’t know what hit them when Gutenberg figured out how to have moveable type on the printing press in the 15th century.  It was a moment of Schumpeterian creative destruction. By the 17th century some form of newspaper had appeared almost everywhere in early modern Europe. Today, there are an estimated 7,000 newspapers in business around the world and the World Association of Newspapers claim that each day over half the world’s population read a newspaper, with sales of 2.5bn copies in print and 600m online; making it a $200bn industry.   Another Continue reading here [...]


I had the pleasure today to listen to the business story of Sally Sawaya, Deputy Manager of Meru Herbs Nairobi, Kenya about the successful establishment and development of their Tea and Jams business. This is a fascinating story of how a coop of farmers in a small regional setting came together to build a successful business which now exports internationally. Started over 10 years ago, this business employed 35 farmers. Today it employs 265 farmers, on average 10 people per household who are involved in the farming and factory production. The local people in the Meru region decided to utilise the water access they had created by generating income through the growing of Hibiscus, Carcade and Lemongrass tea. Today this business exports about 90% of its produce to Italy, Japan and Ireland Continue reading here [...]

Added Value in Africa: Social Enterprise Making Good Business Sense

When we talk and think about International Marketing, big names such as Coca Cola, Unilever, P&G, Tesco, IKEA, IBM... and many more come to mind for their operations and their market dominance in countries such as America, Australia or one of the BRICs. Successful Companies in Developed Countries. However, On Tuesday 26th February, students of MN313 International Marketing got an another perspective of what it means to be an International firm but this time in the developing country of Africa... not the typical country of choice we may first think of when thinking about these Big Brand firms! Conall O’Caoimh, Director of Added Value in Africa provided an insightful and very exciting presentation of Africa as a market of opportunity for foreign investment as well as outward investment... Conall Continue reading here [...]

Five Tips or Just One? Marketing to Potential University Students

Ask Me About Marketing - Gillian, Tim and Michelle (BBS Marketing) As a Lecturer in Marketing, I always enjoy reading about new marketing ideas or stories. One such article caught my attention last week which highlighted ‘Five Tips for Marketing to College Students’ ( There are: Consider mobile marketing - because students are always on the move and often travel to University, the best way to reach them is by SMS or by cell phone. Get to the point, fast- simple, straight use of wording to attract students. Don’t try to be cool if you’re not – students are critical thinkers and can sniff out a phony. Get your product right before bragging about it – focus on product development first. Students operate in a community driven by word-of-mouth! Win Continue reading here [...]

Why study innovation?

If you've just joined the business school, you are embarking on the study of innovation at a wonderful time. In fact, there has never been a better time to study it.  Innovation has worked its way up to the very top of the corporate agenda and is now the number one priority for businesses all over the world.  But it is now also the central plank in the Irish government’s plans for economic recovery and prosperity.  In short, innovation is the only game on town.  Companies that succeed in innovation will create new and sustainable businesses and will dominate the commercial landscape of the future.  Companies who fail at it will find themselves irrelevant and will be brutally swept aside.  But innovation is, and always has been, an intractable problem for managers.  It is difficult; Continue reading here [...]

‘Pull-through’ – The new philosophy in SFI

Last Thursday (March 1st), with little fanfare, a new dawn broke in the world of Irish scientific research. Few could doubt that we have a problem in state funded research in Ireland. The problem is that in our quest for creating new knowledge, pushing the frontiers of technology someone has painted the finish line at precisely the wrong part of the process.  The holy grail for researchers and their sponsors (us, the taxpayer) is publication.  It's publications that get noticed and get you promoted.  Taxpayers who are funding this might be surprised that publication trumps commercialisation.  Getting a paper published is more advantageous for individuals and institutions than spawning the next Google (although, of course, they are not mutually exclusive). So, we have a veritable mountain Continue reading here [...]

How even the biggest brands can lose their sparkle

I have just two words to say to companies who think they don’t need to innovate on their brand: Waterford Glass.  Innovation is at the top of every business agenda.  Peter Drucker says that companies should concentrate on innovation and marketing –‘everything else is just costs.’  But many businesses are justifiably cautious about investing in innovation.  There is a fine balance between, on the one hand, the imperative that companies that don’t innovate die and, on the other, 90% of innovations fail.  Moreover, there is often considerable organisational discomfort around embracing the chaos that is necessarily a part of the innovation process.  Let’s face it, it doesn’t take long in any meeting for someone to innocently ask ‘how, exactly, are we going to measure that?’ Continue reading here [...]

What do university lecturers know about innovation?

My name is Peter Robbins and I lecture on innovation and entrepreneurship in the School of Business in NUI Maynooth.  I recently joined the university (Feb, 2011) from industry.  Up until two years ago, I was Global Head of Innovation Excellence for GSK's Consumer Healthcare Division.  While there, I was involved in identifying and progressing promising new ideas to shepherd into the new product pipeline for global brands like Lucozade, Aquafresh, Nicorette, Sensodyne and Panadol.  The company's sales are over £28bn per year with the consumer division delivering over £4bn of that total.  In order to fuel the NPD pipeline for a business of this scale, it required the introduction of roughly £350m of new products every year. This demanded that the process of new product development Continue reading here [...]