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The Power of Innovation

Great ideas come in many forms.

Not all innovation takes place in Pharma or Tech and many of the best ideas have come from everyday frustrations that something could be done better. Promoting innovation has many facets says Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner at KPMG.

KPMG places an emphasis on a range of innovation initiatives designed to promote innovative role models and support networking or mentoring programmes that can promote innovation. Murphy cites programmes such as The Irish Times Innovation Awards of which the firm is a sponsor. “One of the most valuable aspects of programmes like these is how they showcase how long-standing challenges can be solved by both innovative thinking and the application of new technology.”

Judges for the first round of this year’s Irish Times Innovation awards: Lana Briggs of KPMG; Lisa Higgins of Science Foundation Ireland; David Keeley of Enterprise Ireland; Michael McAleer of The Irish Times; and Eric Donald of Teagasc. They were joined in the judging by (not in photo) Gearóid Mooney of Enterprise Ireland and Ciaran Heavey of UCD.

Judges for the first round of this year’s Irish Times Innovation awards: Michael McAleer of The Irish Times; Eric Donald of Teagasc; Lisa Higgins of Science Foundation Ireland; David Keeley of Enterprise Ireland; and Lana Briggs of KPMG. They were joined in the judging by (not in photo) Gearóid Mooney of Enterprise Ireland and Ciaran Heavey of UCD.

KPMG has sponsored the FinTech category at the awards for several years. Last week Aid:Tech won both the FinTech category and the overall innovation award. Aid:Tech recognised the challenge of ensuring that aid money didn’t always reach its intended beneficiary because of fraud. Their software provides a blockchain based solution to ensuring aid is delivered to the intended recipient by providing a secure identity for the recipient.

“Aid:Tech estimated that up to 30 percent of aid goes missing every year. The value of recognising this type of innovation lies both in encouraging and profiling winners but of equal importance, providing role models for others to explore how long-term challenges for humanity can be solved.”

Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner, KPMG in Ireland.

Going for Growth

The value of role models has been well recognised by the firm in many other related areas including that of women in business. One such example highlighted by Murphy is Going for Growth. This initiative, co-supported by Enterprise Ireland, is focused on women business owner-managers who have been running their companies for at least two years. Through peer support, the programme helps overcome the challenges experienced by many women in business.

Pictured (L to R) are KPMG Partner Olivia Lynch Mary O'Brien, CEO videoDoc and Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.

Pictured (L to R) at the launch of Going For Growth’s 11th cycle are KPMG Partner Olivia Lynch; Mary O'Brien, CEO videoDoc and Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.

Going for Growth has been in place for almost a decade and is designed to be action and results-oriented. Murphy says that the feedback from participants has been hugely positive. “Our teams have met with and held workshops for a wide number of highly innovative women from various sectors who needed early stage support in areas such as tax, regulation or corporate finance.”

Going for Growth in numbers: At the end of the tenth and most recent cycle, the 65 participants reported combined sales of €66.8 million and had created an additional 90 full time jobs, bringing to over 740 the total number employed since the programme began.

Murphy says Going for Growth has “helped provide the foundations for a successful business whilst allowing the participants to focus on what they do best in terms of product development, market testing and commercialisation.”

Innovative thinking about how alliances can help solve problems or bigger societal issues is also important. Through its commitment to citizenship and CSR related activity, the firm harnesses the innovation and commitment of its own people to areas such as lifelong learning in supporting educational programmes in schools and the promotion of STEM subjects.

20x20

Shaun Murphy also highlights the firms’ support for 20x20, a highly innovative nationwide programme designed to increase the participation, attendance and media coverage of women in sport by 20 percent by 2020.

“Recognising the importance of equality and diversity and supporting equal recognition of women in every sphere of their lives has to be more than an aspiration” says Murphy. “The aim of 20x20 is to create a measurable cultural shift in our society. The ambition and talent of women in sport deserves equal recognition and 20x20 can make a significant difference to this objective.” Murphy pays tribute to Sarah Colgan of creative agency Along Came a Spider who had the original idea for 20x20. “Sarah recognised not just the issue of under participation and low media coverage, but also that a lack of role models in women in sport was inhibiting greater participation by girls and women.”

Shaun Murphy believes that one of the factors in 20x20’s success to date was the recognition that innovative approaches were needed to find solutions to these challenges. KPMG partners with AIG, Investec, Lidl, and Three in supporting the 20x20 programme which now has an all island dimension. 20x20 promotes the combined impact of the women in sport sponsored by these organisations in a single campaign to great effect.

“20x20 is a powerful example of innovative thinking which recognises not just the issue, but creative ways of harnessing the diverse skills, resources and influencing capability of a very wide number of organisations and individuals to make a measurable difference and we are very proud to be involved. The reaction of our people has been magnificent”

Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner, KPMG in Ireland.

Shaun Murphy

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This article originally appeared in The Irish Times and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

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Going for Growth

Supporting women growing their businesses and promoting entrepreneurship.

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20x20

A new initiative for women in sport.

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