Grand Canal Innovation District Launch (Full Event)



good morning everyone and welcome to the Lear Academy this morning for the launch of the plans for the Grand Canal innovation district my name is Sarah McInerney and I'll be your MC for today and we have a lineup a very special guest to speak to you today about the innovation district to tell you a little bit about the opportunities that are presents for Ireland about white Dublin is the right place for it and about why now is the time to move so interest a few minutes you'll be hearing from the Provost of Trinity College Dublin Patrick Prendergast after that were delighted to welcome here this morning on Tisha leav Racker and I'd also like to offer a very special welcome to ministers Mary Mitchell O'Connor Minister Richard Britton and Minister John Halligan who are also here this morning we will be hearing from the t-shirt also shortly in a little while I was been joined by Jamie O'Brien he is the chief innovation officer I sorry the chief innovation and enterprise officer with Trinity College Dublin and he's going to be giving us a short presentation about how the innovation district will work and why you should all be very excited about it we're also joined by a panel they're going to be talking to a third key figures really from the busy world of business and education and they're going to be talking to us about how those how the innovation district will make a difference in terms of big companies and small companies working together and indeed in terms of businesses working with higher education institutes so for that we're going to be joined by by Ezell's ward the co-founder and the CEO of food cloud by phone'll amin head of google ireland and by melissa ablis a general manager of cic rotterdam so first sorry I'd like to also say in the spirit of this morning you'll be hearing an awful lot about collaboration about people talking to each other and the importance of conversation and in the spirit of that the hashtag for this morning's event is GC innovation district so please do get involved in the conversation get talking to each other get tweeting and get that conversation going so firstly this morning I'd like to welcome the office of Trinity College Dublin Patrick Prendergast to open this morning's event [Applause] aunty shocked distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen welcome it's only four months ago that many of us were in Kendall Square looking at best practice in Boston's famous innovation district that was in the winter in the snow and now we're here in Dublin in the heat in veiling our plans for the Grand Canal innovation district in Dublin this is a signal occasion for the Dublin universities involved for the local community here in Docklands for global tech and for Irish startups today's launch comes on the back of 18 months detailed planning and preparation in Trinity including as I've mentioned productive engagement with innovation districts globally as well as a relationship building with stakeholders and master planning of this site in the last 18 months we visited many cities including Philadelphia Miami st. Louis Rotterdam London Paris and in all those places to observe firsthand best practice in establishing innovation districts and we've met with the leaders of the world's best universities and seen the role they play in enabling innovation enterprise and cultural transformation that's why we're announcing plans today with the confidence that we can deliver this there has already been significant input from multiple partners and I would like to pay tribute to my fellow university presidents professor Andrew Deeks from UCD and professor Breen McRae from DC you for coming together to share our ambition for a globally recognized innovation district in our capital city in the 21st century universities play a transformative role for their regions it's their education and research activities that catalyze innovation there are magnets for talent engines for economic social and cultural entrepreneurship the grand canal innovation district will grant greater opportunity for the whole higher education system to play this role in Ireland I also pay tribute to the public stakeholders the ITA Enterprise Ireland the departments of Education and Skills and of business enterprise and innovation and Dublin City Council the t-shirts presence here today together with ministers Bruton Halligan and Mitchell O'Connor speaks for itself government support is essential in every step of the way in my inaugural speech as Provost seven years ago I said that successful innovation depends on all stakeholders public and private working in partnership we're fortunate in Dublin in having this potential in our ecosystem immediately after this launch we will progress our consultation with the local community and all key stakeholders Trinity College is part of the community here in Pierce Street and Grand Canal Dock over the past decade and longer at every stage of our development of Science Gallery TBSA the Trinity Business School the lair we have fully consulted with the local community the innovation district like these other developments most work for everyone involved in it the scale of what we're seeking to do here in Grand Canal demands high ambition we can all take confidence that Trinity's new III institute engineering environment and enabling technologies which will be the anchor for the new innovation district has already achieved 40 million euro in funding thanks to the vision and generosity of the nokton family and the state our planned Grand Canal innovation district is not just for double and it's not just for scientists and engineers yes Dublin and the STEM disciplines would benefit hugely but the district will play a role for all Ireland creating a center for innovation connected nationally and promoting all types of innovation including in the creative arts today's great technology challenges are also societal challenges like privacy big data ethics and climate so when it comes to innovation it's critical that we think in terms of the social sciences law and the humanities so we look forward to bringing all our multidisciplinary strengths to this project for the benefit of the whole country at a time when the availability of talent and innovation drives business investment and growth globally we must as a country square up to the challenge and establish the infrastructure necessary to compete internationally a new innovation district with a new university campus at its heart is a vital step in enabling Dublin to be ranked in the top 20 global cities for innovation we can do this if we get all parts of the innovation ecosystem to move together and now I'd like to invite Dermot O'Brian Trinity's chief innovation and enterprise officer to tell us what we need to do to achieve this thank you [Applause] Thank You Provost and thank you everybody for coming along this morning I guess through the slides we want to just start immediately with outlining really what the opportunity here is for Ireland I think everybody will be acutely aware over the last decade we've seen the groats now of about 30,000 new jobs all co-located in the Grand Canal key part of the city I think to many of the world's leading technology and innovation companies and the companies that support and service those businesses so what we have in Dublin now is really Enterprise Zone that's the envy of much of Europe I guess over the last decade around the world what we've already seen as many leading cities also build innovation districts innovation districts are areas that have that critical mass density and proximity of innovation Enterprise companies that create that exponential growth in economic activity so the question really is how do we transform this enterprise zone into a globally competitive innovation district for Ireland we've looked internationally as the Provost said and there's a number of components we know we need to add we need that high density of businesses in the center of this grand canal key area let's bring the startup companies and the scale of companies to co-locate besides large FDI businesses we need to look at putting place shared research facilities these are facilities that lower the bar for all companies to become innovation active to drive that innovation and enterprise activity within those businesses we very much need to create that public space and then program that public space to begin to activate these districts it's not enough to have Enterprise co-located they need to be activated and importantly we need the incubators and the accelerators the House the fledging companies there and drive them forward for growth the one thing we've seen in all innovation districts that we visited is that they have an anchor tenant of world-class universities at its heart and that really is the proposition we're bringing forward today it's about building a new University campus in the heart of grand canal key and using that campus to enable the creation of a globally competitive innovation district for Dublin and a deed for Ireland the campus is where we are today we're on the corner there of pier Street on the key it's bound by the railway line pier Street and Market Street a five and a half acre what we want to do with our campus is bring four components to life we obviously want to have world-class research at the heart that I campus we like the campus the house the highest density of world-class pis in the island of ireland very importantly the campus from the very beginning will be designed to incorporate enterprise collaboration we would see 50% at a campus dedicated to the enterprise community for start-up companies for scale-up companies for new FDI companies that are coming in for existing FDI companies that want to grow their innovation capability we want to create this campus as a public space as a place making within the city and we want to program that space so we can connect to the local community and the companies that are here what's very important is that we have an opportunity for our students and our researchers and our entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and the Taliban or FDI company to meet to connect to network we also want the campus to be a cultural connector it's really important it connects back to the local community but it also must connect the arts and humanities the creative technologies under stem together is that combination that will provide a sustainability of renovation capability for the next generation success has many components for the city for the community for industry for the universities to pick a couple to focus on is about building an international innovation brand for Ireland so it's visibly globally as a global location of choice for innovation investment as the Provost mentioned is about becoming a top 20 city in the world for innovation at the moment were not ranked in the top 20 in Europe it's about having ambition for a university to again like truly was a decade ago to be ranked in the top 50 in the world and about building that critical mass of large FDI companies and startup companies all co-locate but our physical proximity that drives enhanced innovation and economic growth there's a lot of reference points around the world to these innovation districts for the take a project that everybody can get their head around from a local perspective we have a picture here of Bo Soros back in the early 1980s on the north side of the Liffey we've now got the financial services sector here today over the last 30 years we've built a new urban quarter wood in Dublin that's now globally recognized as the location choice for financial services investment we want to do the same tomorrow for innovation understand side of the city we see this absolutely as a generational opportunity a chance to take what's become a recognized enterprise zone and turns into a globally competitive innovation district for Ireland I guess we're going to play video now that gives you a sense of other stakeholders view of the rollers project can play as some in the room some not here and we can roll that video thank you innovation district is an urban center that combines startups multinational companies universities and it's really a talent hub and the idea is simple at the moment you need density proximity and critical master talents to really make a location work from an innovation perspective there's a tremendous opportunity for Ireland in the role and innovation district in play we know that an innovation district to be done at scale needs to work in partnership with other higher education institution it's hard to think indeed of an innovation district in any city in the world in which there isn't a university and sometimes several universities at the heart of it universities are absolutely crucial for this reason one of the exciting parts of this innovation district would be the fact that it not only will attract talent it will attract companies from outside of Ireland into Ireland you'll have young Irish companies growing up side by side to these companies and it will also attract venture firms from around the world I believe having an innovation district is something which would set the city apart would set Ireland apart we see other examples of innovation districts across the globe and they certainly add to the ecosystem of those countries of those cities so this is very important for Ireland the companies that locate to these innovation districts have access to university partnerships on their doorstep and also to access to enterprise and that access and that collaboration between the early stage companies and the larger scale enterprise and the universities creates a unique place for companies to scale from I've worked in both sides in the multinational sector and in the startup scene and they're like two cities in Dublin they're not connected I think the University and this innovation district is a way to bridge the two this innovation district will either give a great sense of place that a local community we're going to open up this part of the city people will be able to walk into it offer new streetscapes in the city it will offer new retail offer new cultural venues we want life on the street we want a positive psychological impact on people that our community is spreading and growing what the innovation district will provide is a flagship project when we think innovation we think it Stanford would think of Cambridge we think of Boston and Dublin will have its own innovation district really important in attracting this talent around the world I'm supportive because tech talent these days flows not towards lowest-cost location or the lowest tax location it flows towards the location with the best talent the vision for me that I want to see is cohesion that everybody's working together to sustain Docklands as a world-class model we operate an extremely competitive world other countries other cities they're all innovating they're all making themselves more competitive we need to continually improve our offering so now is the time for investment in this innovation district Germa thank you very much for that now to tell us why he believes in this project on tisha Lia wrecker thanks very much Sarah Provost ladies and gentlemen first of all good morning I want to acknowledge at the outset the presence of some of my colleagues here mr. Bruton mr. Mitchell O'Connor and mr. Halligan as well and also Martin Fraser the sector general to the government I want to give you my apologies or our apologies in advance we may have to scooch off a little bit early there is a cabinet meeting at 11 o'clock and appropriately innovation 2020 and how we can increase government and private sector investments in R&D is on the agenda so we'll be disappearing little bit early and our apologies for that in in the book Gulliver's Travels one of the greatest of all Trinity graduates Jonathan Swift satirized those who are preoccupied with science and technology while doing nothing to help the people around them so I think Swift would have approved of what we're launching here today it's an ambitious project to channel the creative energies of our best scientists our best researchers and our best innovators very much in the service of the local community Ireland and the world this is the perfect place to have an innovation district it's here at the heart of Dublin surrounded by Ireland's own silicon docks and connected to a world-class research and innovation ecosystem it very much speaks to to government policy visions the idea of making Ireland's the tech capital of Europe and also coopertition among universities competition most of the time for cooperation on behalf of Ireland where appropriate it's also the right place I think for symbolic reasons in the 18th century the Grand Canal was developed as a way of connecting Dublin with Shannon thus connecting Ireland and so opening the whole country to enterprise trade and innovation and the grand canal innovation district is about producing new waves of innovation as we connect Ireland with the world and open up the country to greater enterprise trade and innovation in the 21st century I think we're all aware of how much Ireland has benefited from international companies who chose to base themselves here in Ireland whether they're startups or multinational companies that have chosen Ireland as their EU our amia base the evidence of that is all around us however we can never take this success for granted and today is all about helping to position Ireland for the next phase of economic development with a bold statement of national ambition spearheaded by Trinity this is a collaboration with UCD and DCU as well as di T to trade something world-class on our own doorstep and fundamentally it's about two things first of all it's about Ireland's deepening our relationship with multinationals the ones that are located here and encouraging stronger links between them and the different parts of the country in which they are based and second is ensuring the talent ideas and investment flow in both directions between multinational companies on the one hand and startups on the other for the benefit of all so the proposal for an innovation district center centred around Grand Canal docks makes a lot of sense and one of our objectives in project Ireland 2040 our investment plan and spatial plan for Ireland is to create places that can foster enterprise and innovation and attract investment and talent innovation districts do exactly that they link up companies researchers entrepreneurs and students and increase the flow of successful startups and spin-offs and we believe these will grow and prosper alongside the high-tech multinationals already here and geographical Crupp closeness is crucial to in encouraging those kinds of organic interactions that even modern technologies can't facilitate to give a perfect example the Pixar building was designed with a central spine because Steve Jobs wanted employees to cross it every day and encourage spontaneous encounters and unplanned collaborations and Grand Canal innovation district is based on the same kind of vision and logic at its heart is trans easier to establish a new campus here a 21st century campus in Dublin's grand canal key and it's also a wider vision of how to develop a globally competitive innovation district for Ireland by deepening the relationships between the universities and the research centres in Dublin with start of enterprises of multinational companies we can recast the relationship between Ireland and overseas investment it also enables us to refashion this space to produce better links between business and communities by having public spaces that host vibrant cultural events so this development I believe has the opportunity and potential to bring greater employment opportunities to the local community as well as offering access to new kinds of training and education in doing so we will help to ensure the continuous development of the local area to the benefit of all those who are living here those who are recent arrivals as well as those who have been here for generations and I believe that this is a unique opportunity and also very timely one not least because post Briggs's Ireland will offer an ideal location for startups within the European Union it's single market and the euro zone so in recognition of that government has decided to establish an advisory group chaired by the second secretary-general of the government to develop a road map for the grand canal innovation district it'll draw an expertise from the public and private sectors and crucially from the local community itself there will also be a local consultation process with community leaders and residents and local business and enterprise stakeholders I'd look at lessons from other cities and what are the success factors behind vibrant startup communities elsewhere in the world a new permitting Shola counter newly earth mcconnell amaura Integra R die mecha at all mari Stowe Anu Lee after her con keen August ask Russia who is rare in August and Darwin ask OE s Co Ianto Grisha Gamora love Philter Trudeau Lagos new Elliot and Shira say hey new he is fair – inshallah new tom is a great – on Valek darren don Cade came ella dar Varitek anumita Okoye ARVN commission hilton sale are das poori on nauseam this area as we all know has been dramatically transformed over the last few years and that change continues not least with Bolin's key development just across the basin from here and today is about that next stage of transformation developing an innovation district which will match others in Europe and beyond sir only getting started I look forward to working my colleagues in government and everyone involved in the project to make this another phenomenal success story for Dublin and for Ireland thank you very much we'll move on now because as I said at the top we're going to hear for some visit some key figures from the world of business and education about how the innovation districts can work and what difference it could make to them in terms of working together talking to each other in a new way that they haven't done that before this and Melissa I might start with you because as general manager of CIC in Rotterdam which is the Cambridge Innovation Center in Rotterdam you've also worked enabling other companies in the US and across Europe and setting up innovation districts and sentries so you obviously have a lot of experience in this can you tell us I suppose firstly what is the key to making it work and also why do you think Dublin will work for a project like this sure it's very nice to be here thank you guys for having me and I love Dublin so this is very cool to see what's developing here my background I first worked in innovation policy in the state of Massachusetts and across the u.s. about 10 years ago I was overseeing and working with projects to basically build the physical infrastructure similar to what you guys are building here and then I've also had the pleasure of doing such work in Miami in Philadelphia and now building something similar in Rotterdam and I think you can think about innovation districts and successful innovation districts in kind of two components it's a little bit of a amorphous abstract subject and or a topic until you really have the physical space there but I usually encourage people to think about it first as a type of city infrastructure it's like public transit for innovation you have to have it you have to create this physical space this dense concentration of all of these elements that help innovation happen whether that's shared wet lab space or enabling venture partners to find your top tier startups or creating something that becomes globally recognized so when people think of where they might start their neck next business or where they want to go after they graduate from college in another country they think of your city in your innovation district so that's one part I think the second part that is incredibly crucial to add on top of that physical infrastructure is the programming and it's it's a bizarre thing that so much about innovation and successful business simply comes down to people's ability to find each other can two co-founders meet one of them and you know biochemistry and the other one of them in robotics can the amazing food entrepreneur meet with the funder who's gonna back their vision in their dream can the student who has the brilliant brilliant thing that they've developed in R&D find a technical or a business partner who's going to be able to help them form that entity and grow it and then can they actually find and enter the googles and airbnb s and Twitter's to get advice on how to take that early-stage startup big or to potentially be acquired by those companies later on and so much of that is simply driven by how active you are and bringing people together so one of the core key elements that you have to have in an innovation district is programming you have to have events you have to have a top of the funnel that makes it very easy for anyone off the street to come in to ask what is this how do I engage how do I add value to this and come through and someone or some organization waking up every single day thinking about how do we forge these connections better and better and how do we keep you know kind of showing and emitting this beacon from Dublin from this district to attract people from all over so it was a two-part question but I hope I answered it and that was that was some of the pieces that I would say make a successful innovation district and some of the things I've seen work in other places and just kind of identity is very important than having everyone together and in that vein Dublin should work well for that in the grand canal center or area should work well for – density is key in my business with the Cambridge Innovation Centre what we do is build innovation campuses where we try and put all of these things together so incredibly densely and that's universities that's maker spaces that's lab spaces that's spaces for corporates and ways to connect those corporates and there's some research that we frequently cite I believe it's from Bell Laboratories and they basically looked at how frequently people collaborated on a research campus based on where they were physically located and if you're physically located to the Steve Jobs point as well if you're physically located in the same corridor you're infinitely more likely more likely to build trust and work with someone there and so there's on the city scale that's creating the density of this innovation district where everything is in a walking distance but it's also very easy to find that's the other thing when you have these resources and there's so many amazing resources already here in Dublin you have these amazing companies that have set up here you have these amazing academic institutions but if I'm you know the American coming in and I'm saying where do I start I need to have a physical place I can go to and then a density within that space that makes it really easy for me vanilla we always hear from multinationals how important it is to have access to talent and young people coming through for innovation etc so to what extent and we know there's already a lot of talent in Dublin and to what extent do you see the innovation district helping or exemplifying that in terms of your own access to those people sure first of all just want to say how excited I am to be here today for the launch proposal of Grand Canal innovation district our hope here for Google's headquarters in your Middle East and Africa is very proud of the footprint we have across that region but equally proud of the connection we have with our local community our near neighbors and reproach to college our home Grand Canal and so it's it's really exciting to be here and it's not an overstatement to say that we've built our business and servicing your Middle East in Africa from Ireland from Dublin on our ability to attract talent and that's no coincidence this wasn't just look or happenstance people want to come to Dublin because it is a compact city compared to other cities it you know you can get things done and and it but it is equally diverse and open and and that's a really nice combination to have especially today and so you know people want to come here because we are seen as embracing innovation because of what they already see so this kind of a proposal and you can only can only add to that and of course once you have that talent the next big thing that's been important for us as we have grown our business and filter business on Talent but to grow it and to continue to innovate and continue to be that shining star amongst all of the offices that Google has globally and proximity has been the key proximity of our campus of having not only different types of sales teams and the publishing side and the advertising side and the app developer site but proximity of sales teams with engineering teams and just how that proximity for us creates that spark of innovation those those ideas and those collaborative efforts that really shine globally for the for the Dublin hub and of course we've seen that kind of partnership work globally we've heard so many people talk here today about Stanford and Silicon Valley which is obviously one that particularly resonates for any Google person but also the University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam so this kind of partnership between universities and innovation districts creates that spark that leads to innovation that leads to research and development and another key aspect I think is the support for startups and we already have a thriving startup community in Dublin that I think we should all be proud of and we certainly endeavor to do our fair share there through our top to start a program in partnership with Dogpatch labs and I think it would be fantastic to see a proposal like this attract nurture and grow the next you know the next generation of innovators the next generation of startups and that's something that we would love to see and and so because talent has been and will continue to be really important to us we're really excited about this proposal we're always looking at ways we can support innovation in Dublin and one of our senior directors Antonina cash will be part of the advisory board and just we're really optimistic about how this can and even increase our innovation and how attractive Dublin and Ireland is for talent across the region even more last point the vanilla made about startups and how this could help startups obviously you're a recent graduate of Trinity College but you've also you're also already the CEO of a very successful company so how can you see this working what difference would it have made to you for example or what difference do you think it can make to other startups and future graduates yeah I think circulatory is actually a great example of how this district can benefit startups we so we I graduated from Trinity and I started food and the same for any startup when you're at that stage where you have an idea or a vision and you're ready to take that leap it's definitely the most difficult stage because you're faced with quite a high probability of failure and also highly scarcity of resources so you're in a very unique situation and we were very lucky in that just as I was graduating Trinity's I'm started launchbox which was a three-month accelerator program for startups and immediately we were first given some validation you know this it's a good idea you're not crazy you should go for it and then and the backing of here's a space for three months access to expertise or resources and that was an approach that really helped us and give us a strong stairs and then we it gave us a great platform to go on to another a start-up in the NDRC I'm Launchpad which was which was fantastic and and then we actually ended up in and the Trinity Enterprise Center in Grand Canal and what was brilliant about that was you know we came out of quite a protected shell of – accelerator programs what mentors and then you're taking the next leap you're out on your own for the first time and you're kind of obviously it's a bit nervous but immediately got back in touch with Trinity and says look we're moving on to this next stage and they said offered us a hot desking space in the enterprise center and this was this gave us great confidence to move forward and what kept us in that kind of safety ness where we had great support around us and as soon as we started hiring we were able to move into we started renting our own office in the enterprise center and what that actually gave us access to was then the multinationals that we were surrounded by so I suppose the first kind of problem that was relatively solved for us there was the fact that we had this safety net so when you're in that phase where it is quite a high risk and having that support is incredibly important but then there's the lack of resources and expertise and experience when you're a young company especially led by recent graduates and then having access to multinationals like Google on your doorstep is incredibly beneficial then so we were actually aware awarded they'd off to start a program and that was incredibly useful but actually proximity made such a massive difference there so we kept in touch with many different people in different areas of Google and if there was an area that we needed support we were able to get in touch and literally walk across the street from the Trinity Enterprise Centre into Google's offices and get access to the support we needed similarly to Dogpatch labs and you know is an incredibly important I am support for startups is also peer to peer and do you see the Innovation Center then maybe as an expanded version of the help that you got yes we definitely fair – definitely I am and if you take that one example now that we are developing the innovation district and bringing more resources more startups more businesses into it I'd hope to see the experience that we had multiplied and that experience happening for so many other startups Jared then just finally we saw from the video and from from what others have been saying this morning that community is another very important strand of all this and getting the community involved so how does that work how do you get community involved and how does the community benefit do you think well I think what we saw when we went around the world and looked at different innovation districts is there's no question that unless you build a deep connection with the community to just don't work as well I think there's lots of immediate benefits that will come from the community here firstly they'll get a role in helping to define and design that district both through the consultation process will run but by also playing I roll on the Advisory Committee that the tea shock has just announced in terms of what we see is the immediate benefits one of the key things is that we want to create a new public space and as part of the city that the community will be able to access and take advantage of we want to create a lot of ground floor activation on the campus so that'll be new retail shops new restaurants new cafes one of the real challenges with this district at the moment as its developed as an enterprise zone is that you've got a lot of austere office blocks you know we want to create something that build a much deeper connection with the community as a campus obviously we also want to see new employment opportunities to come for the local community across a whole range of different things both from the tech firms then to the surface jobs and to everything that will be there I think finally I suppose what we would really like to see is that the community will feel part ownership of the district and division and where it's going and I think one of the keys that we would say to the community is that certainly Trinity has an open door over the next period of time as we're developing this for them to come in and input and share their ideas and I'm greatly welcomed that all right Jimmy thank you and thank you so much to all of you for joining us this morning so that is at the end of this morning's event thank you all very much for joining us I just like to welcome the Provost now to the stage to close this morning's event thank you [Applause] thank you thank you thank you very much I would like to close by thanking all of you for being here this morning for this important occasion where we really put down a marker that we plan to have our capital city of Dublin in the top 20 innovation cities in the world at the very forefront of innovation globally your presence is important here today because it really says that we can do it without everyone working together in a cohesive functioning partnership public and private we won't be able to do it your presence here is a crucial step in showing that the partnership can work and that it can happen thank you all very much again thank you to Sarah as well you

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