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Innovation training key to long-term success but lacking in Ireland

Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019 4:04pm

New research launched on Tuesday has found that the vast majority of Irish organisations (69 per cent) do not provide specific innovation training for its employees, while eight per cent said they did not know if their organisation provides innovation training.

The report also highlights significant gaps in the current provision of innovation training and recommends more coherent innovation training programmes be developed to support innovation. Innovation is seen as key to the long-term success of a company.

The study conducted by Trainers’ Learning Skillnet and the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD), also highlights significant gaps in the current provision of innovation training. The research was undertaken by Laurence Knell of Strategic Innovation Partners.

Innovation is defined as implementing new ideas. Training for innovation is therefore the combination of two general skills. Firstly, creativity which is necessary to generate ideas and secondly, implementation skills which are required to turn the ideas into innovations.

This report recommends that to support genuine innovation, any related training must involve both ‘soft’ skills linked to creativity, ideation etc. and ‘hard’ skills linked to concept development, project management and implementation. The study shows that organisations seeking to develop or implement innovation training must allow for training in both elements, in order to maximise the innovation outcomes.

Skillnet Ireland Executive Director, Tracey Donnery said organisations must invest in innovation skills and capacity to be successful.

“Whether considered on an individual or organisational level, the need to innovate and to be innovative is regarded as essential for an organisation’s long-term success. The research shows that there are significant gaps in the current provision of innovation training. For example, innovation is often seen as a technical skill only, rather than part of the leadership, culture and teamwork within an organisation.

“If we want Irish businesses to compete in a global marketplace, we need to ensure that organisations increase the capacity of its people to innovate effectively.”

The study, in which professionals from a broad range of the sectors nationwide took part, calls for clear, structured guidelines and processes in place to evaluate and measure the success of innovation training.

“Critically, only 42 per cent of respondents felt that their organisation uses measurement to help identify improvements in innovation management. The research recommends that an innovation strategy is crucial, and that leadership support is key in delivering it. Innovation is a game-changer that pushes individuals and organisations beyond existing boundaries or limits,” said Sinéad Heneghan, CEO of the Irish Institute of Training and Development and promoter of the Trainers’ Learning Skillnet.

“At a national, industry and organisational level greater focus on innovation capability development is required. This research shows less than 20 per cent of organisations provide specific innovation training,” she added.

One of the key recommendations of the study is the need for more coherent innovation training programmes that are specifically developed to support innovation in SMEs.

“Many organisations have limited budgets for workforce development and training. In fact, this research shows only 20 per cent of SMEs have a training budget at all. Skillnet Ireland and its over 60 Skillnet networks are uniquely positioned to enhance the innovation capacity of Irish enterprise.

“Working in partnership with enterprise, we have a track record in designing new, innovative programmes targeted to meet specific needs to yield concrete business impacts. We would encourage all organisations who are serious about innovation to contact a relevant Skillnet Network for their sector or region,” said Ms Donnery.

To read the report in full visit For more information, visit

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