My Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011 – University of Ulster

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011 – University of Ulster


Eoin completed his MSc in the Distinction grade. Papers Eoin compiled to date during his Masters are listed below:

  • Masters Dissertation – Supervisor: Professor Audrey Gilmore

Title – National Strategy for Higher Education – Is Effective Enterprise Engagement Occurring at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire?

Presentation of my dissertation findings to Minister Bruton
Eoin presents a copy of his dissertation to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.


Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are under pressure to transform their activities, structures and management systems in response to an increasing range of contemporary challenges. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the dominant business form in Ireland and are key engines of growth in modern economies, research shows them to be a significant source of applied innovation and job creation. However Ireland remains an ‘Innovation Follower’ in European league tables partially because insufficient numbers of Irish SMEs engage in innovation and the professional training and development necessary for its exploitation. The Irish government sees the innovative, export led growth of indigenous SMEs as essential to building the recovery of the national finances and employment.

The recently published National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (commonly known as the Hunt Report) states that HEIs have a key role to play as innovation enablers for indigenous SMEs. It requires that HEIs reduce their dependence on the exchequer by prioritising the mission of engaging with the innovation needs of Ireland’s SMEs in a manner that creates diversified revenue streams for HEIs. However the Hunt Report has been criticised for a lack of empirical guidance on the quantum of such engagement or how it should be effected operationally.

In order to address this gap an exploratory case study is conducted at IADT. IADT is in an ideal position to respond flexibly to the Hunt enterprise engagement objective due to it being one of Ireland’s newest, smallest Institutes of Technology (IoT) with a recently appointed President from outside the Irish IoT sector, the nature of the disciplines it teaches in the key growth area of digital media and the institute’s stated pioneering culture.

In order to provide the research instrument for the study ‘effective enterprise engagement’ is defined as genuine collaborative activities occurring within an effective network which yield symbiotic outcomes to the participants.  The primary research comprised twelve in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants and decision makers drawn from IADT’s enterprise ecosystem over a period of three months in the summer of 2011. The primary research was supplement by two unstructured interviews with education policy experts and relevant secondary research.

To download a copy of the full research study please click on this link:

National Strategy for Higher Education – Is Effective Enterprise Engagement Occurring at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire?

The Taught Modules of the Masters are listed below:

  • Strategy Module – Supervisor: Dr. Adele Dunn

Module outline – The purpose of this module was to provide an in-depth understanding of the processes of strategy development and how they create and sustain competitive advantage.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Internationalisation versus Globalisation – A review of the report of the High Level Group on International Education”

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Association for International Education in Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, Dublin City University, Education Ireland.

  • Business Process Innovation Module – Supervisor: Professor Rodney McAdam

Module outline – An examination of the role of business process improvement techniques (such as Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Improvement) in the development of innovation and knowledge management in firms to build sustainable competitive advantage.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Business Process Improvement: How BPI and Knowledge management took Novara Technology from survival to success.”

  • Creativity & Innovation Module – Supervisor: Dr Mike Brennan

Module outline – The aim of the module was to introduce key concepts in the field of Creativity and Innovation; and to develop an understanding of how these can be managed from a strategic perspective.

Paper completed by Eoin: “The e-Learning sector in Northern Ireland – profile, innovation and opportunities”

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Momentum NI, Digital Circle

  • Entrepreneurship Module – Supervisor: Professor Pauric McGowan

Module outline – This module sought to build the students awareness of entrepreneurship and to provide them with a framework for engaging with and assessing the viability of an innovative project or new venture or the development of an existing one.

Paper completed by Eoin: This team assignment sought to identify the route to market for a financial payments security start-up. Eoin examined the social media route. “Is Social Media a viable route to market for a credit card security app

  • Business Development Forum – Supervisor: Professor Dr Adele Dunn

Module outline – This module aimed to provide participants with an in-depth appreciation of contemporary themes within business development and to illustrate how theory can be adapted for different situations in practice.

Paper completed by Eoin: It is not possible to provide this assignment publicly due to the confidentiality agreement signed by the team with the client company(a Web 2.0 startup providing apps for smart phones).

  • Global Marketing Module – Supervisor: Carol Reid

Module outline – This module examines the impact of economic, cultural, political, legal and other environmental influences on global marketing. Within this context how to identify and analyse worldwide marketing opportunities, devise market entry strategies and examine product, pricing, distribution and promotion strategies.

Paper completed by Eoin and classmates: “A PESTEL Analysis of Vietnam”

“Vietnam and International Education: A market entry strategy for Irish Institutions”:

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Education Ireland, DCU International Office, Higher Education Authority.

  • Research In Context Module – Supervisor: Professor Audrey Gilmore

Module outline – This module prepares the student for their dissertation. The dissertation serves to bring together relevant aspects of the course in the exploration of a marketing, entrepreneurship, and/or business development issue or problem.

Paper completed by Eoin: For this assignment I chose to examine a specific problem experienced in Northern Ireland where fear of failure and low perceived capability are leading to low participation rates in entrepreneurial activity in a key age cohort.

“Helping “The Troubles” generation in Northern Ireland think and behave more entrepreneurially

  • Marketing Management module – Supervisor: Dr Danielle McCartan-Quinn

Module outline – This module is concerned both with business philosophy and business function. The marketing process is concerned with innovation, change and a complex environment and the management of this process requires an analytical and universal approach.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Towards a précising definition of marketing”

Other Relevant Information

Eoin chose the MSc Business Development & Innovation at University of Ulster as it had been identified in research carried out by the Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative (entitled “Entrepreneurship Education in Ireland“) as an example of best practice in entrepreneurship education in Ireland.

Overall winner of the postgraduate award category in the 2011 University of Ulster Centre for Higher Education Practice Student Competition with his entry “Putting graduate education at the heart of an ecosystem”.

His thoughts on how a Business Masters best sits in an eco-system also featured in an article in Ulster Business magazine.He was profiled by the University in promotional material here

During his time at University of Ulster he served as SU Class Representative and was elected to the SU Campus Site Executive and the UU SU General Council as Graduate Students Representative. He was sat as SU Observer on the Board of the Ulster Business School meetings 2010-2011.

He also completed primary research for a number of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher research projects.


My time circling the planet

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Circling the planet in search of Innovative & Entrepreneurial ideas

Circling the Planet

When Eoin completed the sale of Novara and Omniserve he was faced with a decision as to what to do next. The warnings about the Irish economy issued by Paul Tansey’s 2005 (“Productivity – Ireland’s Economic Imperative”) study were coming home to roost, namely:

  1. Stark over dependency on construction for tax revenues and employment growth.
  2. Over dependency on the foreign multinational assembly operations for Irish productivity growth.
  3. Weak productivity in the large domestic services sector.

He decided that it was important to try and play his own small part in helping highlight potential positive directions for future Irish enterprise policy. Therefore he decided to make a research study the focus of his travels.

It is Eoin’s firm believe that large scale innovations in business processes will be ushered in with the advent of Web 3.0, the Semantic Web combined with the Mobile web, creating an era of intelligent applications capable of performing many of the routine tasks humans currently do. It will be a period of Schumpeterian “creative destruction”.  Traditional business models will be challenged and employment displaced. While Ireland has successfully attracted many Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 heavy weights (Google, Facebook, Amazon) to locate in Ireland, it is critical that Ireland build on this and stay at the forefront of thinking on how the Web, Society and Business will evolve during the major changes coming shortly.

Eoin set two objectives for his research,firstly to seek ways in which Ireland can stay at the forefront of Internet thinking (by meeting with Internet Institutes that are members of the World Internet Project around the world) and secondly to look at other potential 21st century industries for Ireland/innovative ideas. Third level education became the clear candidate as a major potential source of Irish knowledge economy jobs and income and he wrote a number of papers on this on his return. Accordingly Eoin planned his route to serve these research objectives.

Reports compiled as a result of this initiative:

“Internet Institute for Ireland – Research findings from members of the World Internet Project” : provided to Higher Education Authority, Irish Internet Association

“101 Entrepreneurial & Innovative Ideas from around the world”

Further reports compiled based on research carried out during Eoin’s travels can be found on Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011

Opportunities & Threats of Web 3.0 for the traditional service industry.


My time building Omniserve

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Omniserve (2007 – 2009)


As a result of carrying out an Enterprise Ireland supported feasibility study in 2007, in 2007, Eoin set about developing a business opportunity that would exploit the trend for rapid delivery of services that are traditional, cottage industry type services. His research led to a number of original discoveries that were published in the Enterprise Ireland Journal.

Through his customer exposure with Novara he identified an existing major market failing in the provision of starter websites to small businesses. The feasibility study found that this was the case throughout the EU. Small businesses currently experience a great deal of frustration in getting a website live. The reasons include the need for multiple face to face meetings with the designer, a lack of common agreement as to what constitutes an effective website (with the focus still remaining on Web 1.0 aesthetic factors rather than what business/payback the site generates) leading to a lack of appreciation on the part of small business owners as to how important a website is to their business.

Omniserve Xpress Creation Process is a new business model for the 21st Century. It delivers on the promise of Software as a Service as promoted by Salesforce.com, the promise of delivering immediate business infrastructure on demand. Through the combination of trained staff, virtual meetings and innovative inhouse developed software, the customer (without leaving their office) can be up and running with their high quality website in a fraction of the time taken by traditional providers, with a range of beneficial features included as standard and all at a fraction of the traditional price. It is truly a disruptive offering and was enthusiastically received by the media.

New business models that “productise” traditional services thereby creating jobs in knowledge centres (as opposed to traditional call centres), such as that created by Omniserve for web design, need to be developed urgently within Ireland as the health of the Irish economy depends on the percentage of Irish exports accounted for by the services sector doubling in the next 15 years (Source ESRI).

Late in 2008 Eoin sold the Omniserve business to the management team thus concluding the sale of 2 businesses in a year when general Mergers & Acquisitions activity was down 60%. He worked on a consultancy basis with the business into 2009.