IdeasCampaign – Advisory Council Named

I’ve written a couple of times so far about how I’m not convinced about the IdeasCampaign that is being promoted by Amas and Aileen O’Toole.

Don’t get me wrong here – I’m all in favour of anything that can help this country out of the trouble it’s in at the moment. I’ve commented before that entrepreneurship in this country was in trouble during the Celtic Tiger once people realised it was easier to provide for their retirement by buying and renting property rather than setting up businesses and employing others as my own parents did in the 1980’s.

The IdeasCampaign today isn’t what it was announced as last week on PrimeTime on RTE. On that programme, we were told that Aileen O’Toole was almost assuming a “social entrepreneurship” role by promoting this as her own personal idea for the public to get involved in. This week, however, the IdeasCampaign is a public relations campaign being promoted by a public relations company – Amas.

We don’t know why the campaign has changed direction, or why lots of behind the scenes changes were made to the website have been made without any explanation – such changing the original terms and conditions.

My post here asks some of the key questions that I’d like to see the people behind the IdeasCampaign answer.

In my mind, the IdeasCampaign has nothing to do with the public apart from the expectation that us poor unfortunates should hand over our ideas for free to a group of high up connected business people who would make money off the back of those ideas, according to the original terms and conditions.

And to further enforce that belief, have you seen the Advisory Group that Aileen O’Toole has appointed to sift through the ideas and prepare a report that will ridiculously be presented straight to Cabinet. The usual suspects that Aileen O’Toole has brought together are:

Frank Gallagher – Property developer and drinking buddie of Bertie Ahern.

Moya Doherty – Multi-millionaire, though an unfortunate shareholder in Anglo Irish Bank

Alan Gray – Economist who’s company works for the government

Kieran McGowan – Associated of Aileen O’Toole through Business in the Community board membership

Tina Roche – Employee of Business in the Community, where Aileen O’Toole is board member

Ian McShane (no relation) – Aileen O’Tooles company Amas works for his company, and they’re connected through the JNIR

Dr. Don Thornhill – Board Member of Forfas, for whom Amas and Aileen O’Toole work (here)

That leaves Sean Gallagher of Dragons Den fame and Paul Rellis of Microsoft Ireland and American Chamber.

This is the “in crowd”. There’s nothing new or innovative here. These Advisory Council members, I guess, have always had direct access to the powers that be, but now they’re just doing it off the back of the ideas of the general public.

There are no members of the public on this Council. The members of the public who submitted their ideas have been completely forgotten now that their ideas have been collected and collated.

All I’m hearing when I see these names and hear about Advisory Councils providing strategic advice and shaping an action plan are the words “useless quango”.

I personally have no faith in this campaign. I sincerely hope that something good comes from it, but I’m not holding my breath.

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6 Responses to IdeasCampaign – Advisory Council Named

  1. Anonymous March 13, 2009 at 17:57 #

    I just don’t understand your absolute negativity to this. For god’s sake – at least they’re trying to respond somehow. I personally know Tina Roche who works for bitc which is a not for profit charitable organisation which is committed to corporate social responsibility. How can you claim that this is an “in” crowd. Pure begrudgery!

  2. valueireland March 14, 2009 at 13:59 #

    @anonymous – thanks for your comment, but if you read through all my comments about the IdeasCampaign, my concern is primarily related to the terms & conditions that these people are expecting those who submit their ideas to subject themselves to.

    I don’t believe we’re being told everything about the motives behind the campaign and the apparent lack of transparency is something that I question.

    I don’t know any of the people involved, but when I mention the “in crowd”, I’m trying to highlight that they’re all connected, and through these connections they already have access to those in power.

    My point is, this isn’t a grass roots campaign and the reaction to my questioning of the terms and conditions shows this very clearly.

    Now that the terms and conditions have been quietly changed on at least two occasions since my original comments perhaps shows that I’m actually helping clarify things for consumers and thereby in some small way am actually helping to improve the IdeasCampaign.

    Hardly begrudgery! Just being constructive.

  3. squid March 14, 2009 at 13:59 #

    I am not a lawyer but, clause 3 (b) of the terms and conditions conflict with my understanding of defamation law.

    (B) Disclaimer of accuracy

    The Ideas Campaign does not represent or warrant that the information accessible via this site is accurate, complete or current. This site could contain typographical errors or technical inaccuracies. The Ideas Campaign reserves the right to add to, change or delete its content or any part thereof without notice.

    Additionally, this site may contain information provided by third parties, which includes, without limitation, documents and software. The Ideas Campaign makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy, truth, quality, suitability or reliability of such information. The Ideas Campaign is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies contained in any information provided by such third parties.

    I was always of the belief that if a webmaster hosts an untrue statement on their site, even if it came from soneone not associated with the site, that said webmaster would be liable.

    Am I wrong?

  4. Paul O Mahony March 15, 2009 at 23:49 #

    On the whole this a is a positive move. I get the impression that the campaign was hastily put together and that they are making things up as they go along. But I don’t think that’s such an unforgivable thing.
    The idea itself is a good one and they are getting good feedback.
    I’m not overly concerned by questions of ownership of ideas.
    I agree though, that there needs to be more transparency and I wish the website was a bit more modern.

  5. valueireland March 16, 2009 at 12:27 #

    @Paul – I’ve always been positive about the idea of the ideascampaign, but what I don’t particularly care for is the manner in how they’re going about doing things – as you say, they give the impression they’re making this up as they go along.

    However, given my experiences of the people behind the ideascampaign last Friday, one could potentially see a whole lot more sinister motives behind their “no whinging” policy.

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  1. » Aileen O’Toole and the National Consumer Agency - ValueIreland.com : Ireland's Only Truly Independent Consumer Watchdog - March 25, 2009

    […] doing the research for this post, I was looking for links between Aileen O’Toole and her nominees to her IdeasCampaign Advisory […]

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