Skillnet partners with IRDG to offer innovation training to businesses

Project aims to train about 600 people over 1,100 training days

National talent development agency Skillnet Ireland has teamed up with innovation network IRDG to offer skills training to Irish businesses that will help boost innovation.

The new IRDG Innovation Skillnet is aiming to help businesses develop innovation capabilities and resilience to change, reduce the risk associated with innovation, and create cultures of innovation.

“Most Skillnets would be in individual sectors, or they’d have been in individual regions. This is new in terms of being cross-sectoral and nationwide,” said Dermot Casey, chief executive of IRDG. “Skillnet has been pioneering a number of initiatives over the last couple of years – the climate change academy, the innovation exchange – and I think this is another step just in terms of its own evolution.”

IRDG is a business-led innovation network representing companies that are working towards excellence in innovation. Among its key areas of training for industry in Ireland are design thinking, lean product development, applying technological innovation, and innovation strategy and management. It has an ecosystem of more than 300 companies and research institutes.


“There’s a huge change coming in relation to the innovation management standards,” said Mr Casey. “The whole space has become more professional. The toolkits, the ability to manage innovation is going to evolve quite a bit over the next number of years. This enables us to essentially start on our journey – taking the stuff that we have and scale those up, bringing them to more people, bringing them to more companies, doing more training, providing more support.”

The Skillnet project aims to train about 600 people over 1,100 training days, with courses consisting of a mix of half-days and three- or four-day programmes.

“Strengthening our innovation capabilities is crucial for maintaining our competitive edge in an increasingly lean, green and digital landscape,” said Dave Flynn, director of business networks with Skillnet Ireland.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist