HALFWAY THROUGH AN HOUR-LONG chat with Wisconsin visitors in LIT-Thurles, I glanced at my Moleskine (it's part of the shot at left) and started thinking about the massive economic headwinds facing the small business sector around the world.
I speak from the coal face of creative disruption. I know that my approach to academics is politely known as "creative disruption". My methods focus on getting things done, timely crit sessions, and public sharing of original work. I think these kinds of tactics represent essential core skills for successful start-ups.
Every new start-up that we nurture inside our academic institution will face far greater challenges than when I tried my hand with three Irish start-ups in the benign 90s and the easy-going first years of the 21st century. Having said that, if a company survives five years today, it will be extremely strong and resilient. And when Ireland finally gets back on its feet, the best of today's start-ups will grow even faster. But there's a problem realising a solution that covers more than a small section of today's unemployed in Ireland.
Sometime during the next four months, we'll be asked to suggest another third level short course that unemployed Irish can begin so they can step up to jobs in the smart economy. We'll create the course, knowing that many people lack the prerequisite skills to start the course. They won't be able to participate in the great new companies emerging through the software revolution unless they upskill. This will hurt Ireland Inc because key companies like Google, Intel and Apple in Ireland are starved for talent. Qualified software developers, project managers, and online marketers are head-hunted all the time. They can earn higher-paying wage packets by continuing to upskill on the job. Simultaneously, Irish unemployment figures remain at high levels.
The problem with today's unemployed is that many highly-skilled workers from factories or building sites may be stranded on the "unemployed" side of the jobs graph, never able to work in their fields again. There's no way through this problem other than upskilling the unemployed. I think significant challenges need to be met in terms of getting both the right kinds of courses online along with appropriate levels of learning support to help remedy deficiencies in maths and online research skills.
After I shared my upskilling ideas with business leaders from Wisconsin, I opened that Moleskine and pulled together dozens of pages that will help turn several block layers into web developers through my strategy of creative disruption.
Marc Andreessen -- "Why software is eating the world" in the Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011.