Tag Archive | Innovation


Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Get Digital, the 3rd and final Dice Mini-Conference, and what a way to end the year! Our afternoon consisted of three engaging speakers who filled the room with enthusiasm and excitement while sharing their stories and journeys. As you’ve already guessed the topic for the day was digital and each speaker expressed the importance of technology when establishing or developing a business. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. The great variety of wisdom shared by the speakers made the event very engaging and allowed me to gain something new from each speaker.





Dr. Johnny Walker

Our afternoon was kicked off by Dr. Johnny Walker, an international radiologist, who is CEO of Health Founders and Jinga Life. He gave us a detailed account of his journey so far, with some compelling stories of people he has met and places he has been around the world. Dr. Walker is devoted to helping patients and improving the lives of people globally. This is clear by the number of projects he has worked on to date.




Dr. Walker focused on deviating the healthcare system away from the hospital using a digitalised platform, that is available for use 24/7. He began by building tele-radiology clinics around Australia, and bit-by-bit, he built Global Diagnostics. They look after thousands of patients all over the worlds. It takes whatever type of scan is needed, transports them through a webpage porter to a panel of radiologists, who are alert wherever they may be. It was a total game changer!

global daig.png

“Founder’s Dilemma”

After some time, they got to a point where they grew huge, but they didn’t know what to do or where to go next. He argued that there was a time for disruption. He created Jinga Life, which is like a digital file of an individual’s medical records which can be viewed and monitored at any time. Things like allergies, doctor’s visits, previous sicknesses are shown. Everything from ‘the womb to the tomb’.


A captivating opening to our event, which aroused my curiosity and certainly left me amazed!



David Erixon

Next to the stage was David Erixon, a native Swede who is head of digital and customer innovation at Ulster Bank. From his presentation, we gained an insight into the banking and financial sector, like the medical sector provided by Johnny Walker. The use of digital innovation used in the financial sector is growing considerably and he provided us with some surprising statistics to back this up. Last year in Sweden, the number
of cash transactions amounted for just 2% of the total overall transactions in the country. Unbelievable! And this figure is expected to drop significantly in the coming years as they are issuing less and less physical money.

“90% of all transactions in Sweden are digital.”



David showed us a quick video demonstrating how a company can gather and connect various pieces of data points, which allows you to create and trigger your own actions. 22 Seven gains access to all aspects of customer bank accounts. It looks like what a bank can do except it does more. Not only can you make better decisions about your money, you can also link them decisions to your actions by 22 Seven. An example David used was, when your salary comes in every week or month. It gives you indication of the bills you usually pay, like electricity, insurance etc. and then after these deductions, it provides an estimate of the discretionary money available that you can spend.

“Predicted. Proactive. Prescriptive.”


A short video clip showing how it works

David also talked about the importance of bank APIs, which involves bringing people together who want to improve the banking system. Its main aim is to fulfil the needs of their users, which is David mentioned is their primary goal overall.


If we think of all the Ulster Bank branches open today in the Republic of Ireland, there are currently 110. After carrying out some research I discovered that 30 of these branches are set to close shortly. This “reflects the greater role played by technology and digital banking in how Ulster Bank delivers services to its 1.1 million customers here, and a need to reduce its significant cost-income ratio.” (The Irish Times, 2007). Even entering a bank today, a lot of actions are completed on machines, without the need of staff assistance. I believe the future of banking will not require any banking counters, or even ATM machines.



Alistair Croll

Our final speaker of the evening was Alistair Croll, who is an author of the book ‘Lean Analytics’, and a public speaker with over 20 years’ experience. He spoke about how we change society through innovation.







“Technology isn’t interesting, but discontinuity is.”
Discontinuity means an “unpredictable, unforeseen, natural or man-made sudden change… that confounds or disrupts earlier expectations.” (BusinessDictionary.com, 2017). In other words, with the development of new digital technology, things aren’t the same afterwards. He gave some examples, like people now using google maps to find their way around, instead of a map made from paper.

The evolution of the smartphone is one of the most profound changes in the last 10 years. Alistair provided us with some thought-provoking facts. The average person checks their phone 42 times per day, and the average 18-24-year-old checks their phones a remarkable 82 times. Even within 5 minutes of waking up, people are drawn to pick up their phone and browse social media. The phrase “I can’t imagine my world without my smartphone”, is a common discontinuity.

Alistair concluded his presentation talking about the future. Company’s shouldn’t wait for new developments to happen. When something becomes popular, another thing becomes scarce. All this innovation leads to efficiency and creates demand.

Efficiency -> means lower cost -> means new uses -> means more demand -> means more consumption

Alistair succeeded in maintaining everyone’s attention throughout his speech which isn’t easy when you’re the last speaker of the day. (and of the year). I have to say, he really engaged and interacted with the audience, while informing us on this huge topic in today’s society.

For more information about Alistair, I found an interesting article HERE, that is worth a read!


So there you have it, the last our mini conferences for the year have drawn to a close, and unfortunately so have my blog posts. Thanks a million for reading and hope you all enjoyed my posts. That’s everything from me, feel free to comment and share.

Thank guys!






BusinessDictionary.com. (2017). What is discontinuity? definition and meaning. [online] Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/discontinuity.html [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

The Irish Times. (2017). Up to 30 Ulster Bank branches in Republic under threat following review. [online] Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/up-to-30-ulster-bank-branches-in-republic-under-threat-following-review-1.3000228 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

Pictures from this blog are a mixture of my own, google images and the slides provided by each speaker.



This is the first of our mini conferences and what a way to begin! I didn’t know what to expect of the event before attending but it did not disappoint. It was truly brilliant, enjoyable and informative. The topic of entrepreneurship was discussed in detail in the various talks from our guest speakers. They portrayed it as an exhilarating, rewarding career option but it does have its risks and not all ideas are a success. The speakers certainly left us with something to think about.

opening picture.png

The first guest speaker of the day was Philippe Brodeur, who is the co-founder of OvercastHQ. This is a company that is designed to manage video files easily almost like managing word documents without having to struggle with technology. Philippe told us their story and talked about the market for this product at the moment. overcast2He explained that “93% of marketers and publishers now work with video”. He argued that some of these companies are not using suitable tools. I thought it was a brilliant idea as technology is so big nowadays.

After talking briefly about his company, he began to explore the topic of entrepreneurship in more depth. He talked about what makes a successful business and suggested that the five reasons start-ups succeed is team, idea, plan, timing and funding and I must say that I agree with these. Although things like funding and timing are very important, I should add that the personality of the entrepreneur and their skills and characteristics are also what makes a successful business.

What I liked most about Philippe is that he has full belief and commitment to his business and is motivated to do everything he can to see it succeed. He spoke in a philosophical tone where he posed one main question to the audience and left the future entrepreneur with something to consider, “How am I going to differentiate myself from everyone else in the marketplace?” It was a great talk and start to the event!

You can find out more about Philippe’s company on his website.

Next up was Brian O’Rourke and Alan Farrelly who are involved in the company Cityswifter. These guys were very inspirational. When starting up a business, they focused on the problem, what needed fixing and came up with a solution.

First they discussed their journey and how they got to where they are. I found this very interesting as they had a few different companies before Cityswifter. In 2013, concertbus.ie was set up by Alan Farrelly to provide transport to concerts and festivals around Ireland. They had over €130,000 in revenue with 20+ events. But they ran into difficulty as it wasn’t scalable. Next up, they set up another website busman.ie, where you just log in and book your bus. But this website was hacked weekly.


I really admired their perseverance, as they never gave up and eventually came up with the idea of Cityswifter. Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of apple, once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” And I wholeheartedly agree with this. Building this business wasn’t easy. They worked long and hard days leading up to the bus strikes, from 12-16 hours and they had very little money. But their efforts paid off and they were the talk of the country overnight. “Be prepared to do what others won’t”, was one of the messages they were sending across and it really stood out to me.


I found an interesting newspaper article about Cityswifter HERE on The Irish Times. it is worth the read!

The boys plan on expanding their company with the release of a mobile app, more bus routes, and building out their team. I hope all goes well for them in their journey which I’m sure it will.

After the first two speeches I realized something. These people aren’t solely interested in money and fame, but in personal rewards and satisfaction. “Many persons choose to become entrepreneurs not primarily to become rich or famous(!), but because they want to improve the quality of their own lives, and perhaps those of others too. In short, they want to attain greater life satisfaction and increased personal happiness.” (Baron, 2014)

Elva Carri was the third speaker of the day, with her company, Girlcrew. I found her story the most interesting so far and very entertaining. She was feeling a bit lonely and was tired of her friends cancelling plans or not being able to go out, so she wanted to find a way to meet new friends that have some similar interests to her. The way she went about this is very funny. She went on tinder and changed her status to a male. Here is her profile and what she posted:

You might think it is a silly idea but the response Elva got was huge. Within a few hours, she got over 100 messages from other girls. She then made a Facebook group chat with everyone in it and they organised different nights out. Elva was doing all the work, so she thought why not make a business out of it. She used it as a user aswel as a business. She expressed that it appeared scalable and there was a market for it. I thought it was genius! Elva had great aspirations for this company, that she wanted to make it worldwide, but she wasn’t sure it would work out, so she kept it to herself. She wanted to be able to test it without any pressure. Currently, they have 50,000+ members and there are events happening everyday throughout the world which are organised through Girlcrew. I was amazed that in Dublin alone, there are 20,000 members. There are three full time staff working with this business. The co-founder is Aine Molloy. She met Pamala Newhiman, who worked for the New York times for 7 years, and she asked to get involved.


In her talk, Elva also acknowledged their weaknesses, along with their strengths. One being that they have no tech person but that she would like to have her own app someday. Her target market is women from 25-40 years in urban areas and developed regions. This equates to 79 million people. The market is massive. There are continuous requests for Girlcrew to come to more cities. Elva has a really positive attitude towards life and left us with the quote “Don’t just share experiences, create them!” Meaning that the world is our oyster. I really enjoyed this talk by Elva and it gave me a lot to consider.

Gavin Walshe was next on the stage with his company iCabbi. This man has always been a creative and innovative entrepreneur. He set up many businesses and was nominated for an award with entrepreneur of the year. He was very young when he set up his first company, where he bought Christmas trees in bulk and travelled from door-to-door selling them. It was a very successful business at the time but he soon got sick of it. The second of his businesses to set up was myfashionfair.ie. He recognised that women were complaining about weddings and how expensive they are like buying a dress that will only be worn once. This website was a way of buying and selling your dresses. It seemed like a great idea but Gavin explained that it was a phenomenal failure. He was always on the lookout for business opportunities which is a very successful trait to have as an entrepreneur in my opinion. The idea of iCabbi was sparked when he was in Portugal with his wife and they got lost. He thought it would be a great thing to get a live taxi with a push of a button that could detect your location. And so, with his idea, he launched iCabbi in 2010. The way it worked was he charged taxis per job, but he soon realised that some cannot be trusted. It worked well in Cork and he re-launched it in Dublin in 2011 and this time it operated well. The only problem was demand exceeded supply and there weren’t enough taxis.

iCabbi was then launched in the U.K. This was very different to Ireland as they had no meters in the taxis. It took Walshe a long time to catch up, he ran out of money but the service was finally ready in Jan 2014. It seen a high growth rate. He wanted to keep on expanding, so he brought it to the U.S last year. I really admire how, initially, he spotted a fault in the market and created something to solve it and appeal to a mass audience, showing that he had a great entrepreneurial capacity, something which I would like to develop myself. He left us with a quote “You can only grow as big as your vision” and to be an entrepreneur you must have big ambition , which is something that appeals to me greatly.


This picture is taken from Gavin’s Slides

I found an article HERE from The Irish Independent about iCabbi and thought it was very interesting.

I thought the next speaker was a bit different to the others. We were introduced to Iseult Ward and her company FoodCloud. This is a charitable organisation collecting food for the homeless. As she said in her PowerPoint presentation, they are “connecting those who have too much food with those who have too little”. Iseult presented us with some remarkable figures. I was astonished that over 30% of food produced around the world is wasted. In Ireland that is about one million tonnes wasted annually. If that sounds bad, there are 795 million people that have no food around the world and one in eight people in Ireland suffer from poverty. I couldn’t believe it!fclogo.png

Iseult thought these figures were shocking and wanted to do something about it. She studied in Trinity College Dublin, and when she completed her course she set up a food bank. Evan O’Brien is the co-founder. They discovered that supermarkets waste 300 meals equivalent per week. After hearing this figure, they set up a meeting with Tesco. They got on board with the idea. It works by uploading details of surplus food on foodcloud. Then a text is sent out to charities and they will collect the food. It has such a big impact on the homeless shelter. They got a huge donation of steaks from Aldi, and some of the people in shelter said that they have never even seen a steak before. I was touched by this. Iseult attains a national contract with Aldi and Tesco and she launched in the U.K with Tesco two years ago. FoodCloud is also partnered in the U.K with Fairshare. Her company is expanding everyday and I think it is great to see a young inspiring entrepreneur, like Iseult, doing such amazing work.

After some inspirational and heart felt speeches by our guest speakers, the event concluded with a short talk from the presenter, Andrew Keogh and he showed us a few slides:


Overall, it was a fantastic day, with some encouraging speeches. Some of them have inspired me to become an entrepreneur. I learned a lot of information that I will use myself during the duration of my studies and take with me in the future!

Looking forward to the next conference #GetSocial in February! Thank you all for reading!

See you soon!


Baron, R. (2014), Essentials of entrepreneurship: evidence and practice, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham UK

Pictures from this blog are a mixture of my own, google images and the slides provied by each speaker.