Ideas Campaign: good idea? – enn.ie 10/03/2009

The Ideas Campaign, a private group founded to try and come up with ways to help reignite Ireland’s economy, has so far attracted over 2,500 ideas, across 19 categories.

Some of the proposed ideas include the following: the Government to integrate its IT systems; state organisations to focus R&D efforts on space programmes; and Enterprise Ireland to set up “virtual offices” for start-up companies to provide advice on patents, legal topics and other issues.

The website is at the heart of the campaign, which is also being promoted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The online campaign came about following an appearance by the managing director of IT consultancy Amas, Aileen O’Toole, on Prime Time to speak about ways to stimulate the Irish economy.

The campaign’s advisory group is made up of figures from business, academia, economics and the voluntary sector.

The ideas received will be turned into a “clear, pragmatic, action plan” that will be presented to the Government in April.

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen has welcomed the campaign and has said the action plan will be “fast-tracked to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Economic Renewal for assessment and implementation”.

However, consumer watchdog website ValueIreland has poured cold water on the campaign, warning people who have submitted ideas that once they send in their idea it no longer belongs to them. ValueIreland has expressed scepticism with the scheme, saying there are many other ways to develop ideas, such as approaching a local enterprise board.

That may well be true but the impact of thousands of ideas being put to the Government at the same time through a recognised, national campaign is likely to hold more weight.

Deirdre McArdle

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