The challenges are real. The outcomes might surprise you.
The Innovation Academy seeks partnerships with organisations that want to build on the diverse skills of an interdisciplinary team of postgraduates, to examine a challenge in fresh, creative ways. Organisations may face a market opportunity or a technological challenge, which would benefit from innovative thinking, new techniques and perspectives.
Providing a mentor to the students as a key contact, organisations introduce the group to the inner workings and resources of their company. In return, students apply their complementary research skills and training to set about thinking of new ways to view old problems.
Final project presentations are made in front of students, academics, funding agencies and industry mentors at a plenary session called The Pitch.
Be a Project Partner
What’s an Innovation Project?
An Innovation Project is a mini-challenge set by an organisation to our students, who have two weeks to come up with a potential solution. The organisations are drawn from social, cultural, non-profit and corporate sectors in Ireland.
Who Do We Work With?
Our project partners are drawn from the university ecosystem including alumni, incubation centres and spin-out companies. Projects are also sourced from the wider Innovation Academy network of government agencies, charities and multinationals in Ireland.
Innovation Project Case Studies
Save our Seahorses (SOS) is an Irish conservation project founded in 2011 with the aim of reversing the decline in worldwide seahorse populations, which has driven this amazing creature to the brink of extinction. Seahorses are harvested for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where they have a market value that is higher per ounce than gold.
In developing a global conservation strategy, SOS focuses on awareness, sustainability, cultivation and preservation.
SOS asked the students to devise a brief for their global marketing campaign which they hoped would influence policy and cultural attitudes, while respecting local custom and the needs of economically dependent fishing communities.
In a matter of weeks, students had conducted research, tested concepts and designed prototypes to propose ways in which SOS could leverage their marketing campaign for the greatest impact. Video and web content were central to the proposals, as well as using Chinese social media like Badum to raise awareness. Using famous faces from China’s celebrated movie industry for an online and print campaign were amongst the more public ideas.
To address conservation and sustainability, the students saw opportunities to link research and commercial interests in a symbiotic relationship. Using the design technique of empathizing with the needs of the end-user, the students identified the crucial importance of involving the fishermen and local communities in the conservation campaign from the very outset.