Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

International Council for Small Business – World Conference on Entrepreneurship 2014

The 59th Annual International Council for Small Business World

Conference took place in Dublin, Ireland from11-14 June 2014 at Double Tree by Hilton Dublin

Last week as part of ICSB 2014 World Entrepreneurship Conference I attended a dedicated Entrepreneurs Day on Wednesday June 11th organised by the Dublin Institute of Technology. This day was titled Standing out from the crowd; funding innovation and leadership

This event was targeted at those entrepreneurs who wish to learn first-hand how successful entrepreneurs have grown their businesses from start-ups to commercially thriving operations. The day focused on creativity, funding, leadership innovation  as well as  social media as it is applicable business.

It was a very comprehensive series of talks which included addresses from Raomal Perera on how to raise money through successful crowd funding campaigns and Nigel Newman from the DeBono Foundation encouraging lateral thinking and reimagining success by helping to release and realise creativity within organisations.

Serial entrepreneur Noelle O’Connor and Dragon’s Den star Gavin Duffy  also gave their insights into building successful businesses in Ireland

The final address of the day was given by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey who are serial entrepreneurs, industry reformers, successful brand builders, and co-founders of hugely successful Barefoot Cellars.

It was a great forum for entrepreneurs to talk practically with fellow entrepreneurs and I certainly left with a better understanding of good leadership skills, new problem solving techniques and a fresh approach to social media for success.

Thanks to the DIT for organising and I along with my fellow entrepreneurs certainly left with several new ideas that will be readily implemented.

Key words

Entrepreneurship, funding, innovation, leadership, Serial entrepreneur, crowd funding, brand, success, social media,

Related links

Further reading

Twitter handles to look at


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Innovation Master Class by Darrell Mann one of the world’s most prolific inventors

Why do 98% of Innovation projects end in failure? Today in Dublin he gave a master class on his approach called Systematic Innovation.

28th Feb 2014 

Dr John McKeon with Darrell Mann

Dr John McKeon with Darrell Mann

Darrell was at IMI today speaking at the Industry Research & Development Group (IRDG) conference on Systematic Innovation.

‘Systematic Innovation’ is all about helping organisations to construct a repeatable formula for success.

Based on an analysis of over 3.8 million innovation attempts across every sector of human activity, the likelihood of successfully turning a novel idea into sustainable shareholder value is currently slightly worse than the odds of winning at roulette. Close to 98% of all innovation attempts end in failure.

Those attempts fail because organisations: – Ask the wrong questions – Deliver the wrong solutions – Inadequately protect their IP – Mis-handle the communication with customers & stakeholders – Take on projects inconsistent with the capabilities of the organisation – Give up too soon.

Darrell examined each of the above failure reasons to provide us with proven, deployable strategies appropriate to the context of our own enterprises.

In the workshop, Darrell addressed each of these modes of failure in their R&D context, and extracts from the 3.8 million datapoints the strategies and principles uncovered by the 2% of innovation attempts that end up being successful.

Successful innovations also come through understanding your customers (and those that aren’t yet your customers) better than they understand themselves.

True understanding of customers means anticipating their current and future needs. It also means understanding intangible and unspoken desires as well as their known tangible ones.

The programme is the outcome of over 2000 person years of research into the DNA of creative success. It is the only philosophy, method and toolkit capable of tackling and generating breakthrough solutions in today’s challenging and increasingly complex business environment.

Key Topics Darrell covered were

1) Big Picture – Why so much R&D results in so little innovation

2) Understanding Customers Better Than They Understand Themselves

3) Generating Breakthrough Solutions – Finding & Eliminating Trade-Offs

4) Bulletproofing IP – Predictable Evolution Directions

5) Innovation Capability

6) Putting It All Together – Top 5 Things To Do Differently Tomorrow

About Darrell Mann

Featured in Who’s Who in the World, Darrell Mann is recognised as one of the world’s most prolific inventors and has generated over a dozen patents and patent applications. He has spent much of his working life trying to understand why 98% of Innovation projects end in failure and has come up with an approach called Systematic Innovation.

He now implements this approach with clients including Intel, Hewlett Packard, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Nestle, & Mahindra, MindTree, Samsumg, Telekom Malaysia, Hong Kong government & many more. His early career was spent in various R&D roles at Rolls-Royce before he became chief engineer responsible for the company’s long-term military engine strategy.

About the IRDG

 The Industry Research & Development Group (IRDG) is a non-profit, business-led Innovation Network of member companies, working together to drive excellence in Innovation within Ireland’s industry to create growth, jobs and prosperity.  Membership of the IRDG is extensive, including indigenous and multinational organisations, of all sizes, across all sectors of industry.  The common theme that brings all members together is their interest in progressing their business through Innovation & R&D. We took the opportunity to catch up with Darrell between international flights to ask him about extending his advice to the broader business community… in just six words of course

About the IMI

IMI is a membership organisation that reflects a spectrum of Irish industry, from the smallest micro-organisations to the world’s largest multinationals. For sixty years IMI has pioneered the development of executive education in Ireland. Thousands of senior executives attend developmental programmes at IMI annually, ranging from NFQ level 9 Masters and Diploma qualifications to one and two day master classes. IMI also acts as a “business partner” for organisations that are looking to align comprehensive learning and development strategies to support the execution of business growth strategies.

Key words

Innovation, Marketing, Technical, R&D, Leadership, IP, intellectual property, patent, Systematic Innovation

Further reading

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Leadership and Self Awareness, Lunchtime Lecture by Dr Tony Humphreys

Reflections by Dr John McKeon, Serial Entrepreneur, based in TTEC

Last Friday (23 November 2012) we had a wonderful ‘lunch and learn event’ in the beautiful scholarly surroundings of the Long Room Hub, a fabulous building between the 1937 Reading Room and the Provost’s Garden. It was a wonderful crisp autumnal afternoon and every one delighted to gather in advance of the talk for food and hot drinks. After some quick hellos and exchanges of business cards the event began to fill with an excellent crowd.

Dr Tony Humphreys

Dr Tony Humphreys

In the classic Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself,” Peter Drucker wrote, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected.” Drucker called this self-reflection process feedback analysis and credited it to a 14th-century German theologian.

Even considering the above I think it is fair to say there was a little bit of cynicism in the air about how a lecture on self-awareness would be relevant to the busy group assembled. The audience represented the diverse group that makes up the Trinity Enterprise Network including members of the TCD entrepreneurial ecosystem, start up companies, teaching staff, MBA students, PhDs, undergraduate and various entrepreneurial support staff of the college including Technology Transfer Officers.

Tony opened his slides with a quote from How Leaders Become Self-Aware by Anthony K. Tjan Harvard Business Review July 19, 2012. Becoming aware of dealing with your inner core is at the centre of leadership effectiveness and development. The more acutely you are aware of it, the better you will be as a leader.”

In business and leadership there is a tendency to focus entirely on the ‘macho stuff’ like business plans, strategy and tactics. Tony would argue authentic leadership and real business toughness is often closer to the Socratic statement ‘know thy self’.

He also referred to the Plato quote “Citizens of Athens, aren’t you ashamed to care so much about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your souls you have no thought or care?” This is an alarmingly relevant quote for our recent crisis of leadership and systems failures both here and abroad.

Tony argues that without personal maturity and self awareness we develop a mindset of unconscious defensive leadership and this can result in being an ineffective team leader. Characteristics of Unconscious Defensive Leadership include avarice, bullying, cosy cartels, secretiveness and arrogance. These traits of leadership kill an atmosphere of openness and safety for knowledge workers. Clearly these leadership traits are not conducive to innovation amongst teams with dismissiveness, unavailability and unapproachability often being the order of the day.

People are like dolphins: you can’t hit them as they just swim away. Likewise financial incentive based programs will only get you so far as a leader. With the mobility of the modern workforce a true deep understanding of self first will give you the emotional maturity to understand what truly motivates your team and how to meet their needs for significance and contribution.

With personal reflection Conscious Mature Leadership is developed. Characteristics of a mature leader include accountability, authenticity, fairness, and understanding. With a conscious mature leader at the helm companies have an atmosphere of openness, encouragement, belief in opportunities and active listening. Obviously this makes a much more effective working environment for innovation, brainstorming and gives confidence to your team to develop and contribute new ideas.

It is fair to say across many sectors in society we have seen a loss of leadership and personal accountability by people hiding behind systems. Tony emphasised that these are not ‘systems failures’ as behind every system if you dig deep enough there is an individual who has to be prepared to have personal accountability. ‘Computer says no’ will not cut it going forward.

Tony closed his talk by emphasising again the simple but profound take away message that the most important principle of business management is personal maturity. If things are not going to plan with your team start by looking in the mirror. Don’t wish the problems were less, but work on becoming better yourself.

There then followed a lively Q and A with Tony running through some very practical methodologies for getting the concepts he discussed into the day to day functioning of your teams. Implementing these principles from the time of Plato and Socrates will foster innovation and creativity and an atmosphere of respect and fun. The days of command and control leadership are in the past.

Clearly any reliable strategies that can increase the speed of creativity and the power of trust in an organisation will make a very real difference to the bottom line. Perhaps the macho KPIs and targets stuff is just ‘playing office’ until we get the mature leader issue dealt with?

An open discussion along these lines with our co-workers sounds like a very good business decision rather than airy fairy stuff!

We hope to have one more lunch and learn seminar for the Trinity Enterprise Network before the end of the year so please contact us at email: if you would like to receive the details.

Books by Tony Humphreys

Leadership with Consciousness

Work and Self

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Royal Dublin Society Lecture by Dr. Deepak Chopra and relevance to Entrepreneurship by Dr John McKeon

Dr John McKeon and Dr. Deepak Chopra

Dr John McKeon and Dr. Deepak Chopra

Last night I was at a fascinating talk at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) by Dr. Deepak Chopra, physician, entrepreneur and author of 55 books who was invited back to Dublin by Jane Stephenson from

The evening lecture in the wonderful RDS Concert Hall included topics based on some of his new books including Super Brain .

I have been very interested in Deepak’s work after reading his business book The Soul of Leadership, which is derived from his executive training program at the Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University. In the book, he describes “pure leadership” which is based on a need coming from followers and then from a leader standing up to address that need.

The Soul of Leadership is a clear and enlightening guide offering insight and practical steps to become an inspired leader and fulfil your vision and is a great read for all start-up entrepreneurs.

As Entrepenuer’s, whether it’s our employees or our clients we have the opportunity to serve, Deepak’s method of leadership focuses less on strategizing or putting on a role and more on finding the truest way we can serve others by being authentic and congruent.

On the evening, Deepak made clear his conviction that it is within the potential of every human being to live an enriching, self-aware, magnificent life which are all relevant themes to the mindset of entrepreneurship and value creation .

He finished the evening by defining that happiness is achieved through three things:

  1. Creating a solution for a problem which allows us to express our creativity
  2. A level of material success that makes you economically empowered beyond money
  3. Making other people happy and fulfilling our desire for appreciation and attention.

In reviewing the above it would be difficult to come up with a better definition of entrepreneurship!

I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Deepak before the event and discuss a number of topics including habit patterns for success, entrepreneurship and even golf! All his teaching are extremely relevant to early stage business and the start up phase and I look forward to meeting Deepak again next year on his return.

Why key business figures say about Depak

“Deepak Chopra opens the door for today’s leaders to access the secrets of success we all need without giving up who we are.” – Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of

“Deepak Chopra really gets it – true leadership begins at the spiritual level. It’s not about popularity, power or piling up profits; it’s about getting your ego out of the way so that you can serve the greater good. At a time when the world desperately needs love-based leaders, this throughout guide is a godsend.” – Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager.

About Depak

Deepak Chopra’s popularity as an international presenter and keynote speaker is exemplified in an impressive list of honorariums. He participates annually as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine event sponsored by Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 1997.

Dr Chopra is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, an Adjunct Professor at Kellogg School of Management, Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization and founder of The Chopra Foundation.

Further reading

Interview with Gay Byrne on Meaning of Life, October 2010

Useful Link


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Leadership for Entrepreneurs Seminar with Robin Sharma

John McKeon & Robin Sharma - Entrepeurship Seminar

John McKeon & Robin Sharma – Entrepeurship Seminar

Today I was at a really interesting event organised by the Irish Centre for Business Excellence  at the Convention Centre, Dublin.

The event was billed as; Come and be inspired by the internationally renowned leadership expert, Robin Sharma. During this seminar the bestselling author of THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI, THE GREATNESS GUIDE and THE LEADER WHO HAD NO TITLE will give you profound insights. You will quickly come to see why when Fortune 500 organizations need a speaker with a proven track record of delivering leadership presentations that inspire, engage and deliver real business results, they go to Robin Sharma.

He is indeed a really inspiring speaker and his interactive seminar was packed with relevant points for start-up and early stage entrepreneurs. I had a lovely chat with the great man after the event and interview him on his success rituals and habit patterns. He came across as extremely sincere and was very approachable.

Here’s a synopsis of his ‘explosive productivity tips’ so you get big things done and make your life matter!

Robin Sharma’s 21 tips to get you to your best productivity:

#1. Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.

#2. Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project. Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action.

#3. Remember that big, brave goals release energy. So set them clearly and then revisit them every morning for 5 minutes.

#4. Mess creates stress (I learned this from tennis icon Andre Agassi who said he wouldn’t let anyone touch his tennis bag because if it got disorganized, he’d get distracted). So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.

#5. Sell your TV. You’re just watching other people get successful versus doing the things that will get you to your dreams.

#6. Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).

#7. Run routines. When I studied the creative lives of massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, I discovered they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.

#8. Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.

#9. Don’t do so many meetings. (I’ve trained the employees of our FORTUNE 500 clients on exactly how to do this – including having the few meetings they now do standing up – and it’s created breakthrough results for them).

#10. Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.

#11. Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within what I call “Your Picasso Zone”.

#12. Stop multi-tasking. New research confirms that all the distractions invading our lives are rewiring the way our brains work (and drop our IQ by 5 points!). Be one of the rare-air few who develops the mental and physical discipline to have a mono-maniacal focus on one thing for many hours. (It’s all about practice).

#13. Get fit like Madonna. Getting to your absolute best physical condition will create explosive energy, renew your focus and multiply your creativity.

#14. Workout 2X a day. This is just one of the little-known productivity tactics that I’ll walk you through in my new online training program YOUR PRODUCTIVITY UNLEASHED (details at the end of this post) but here’s the key: exercise is one of the greatest productivity tools in the world. So do 20 minutes first thing in the morning and then another workout around 6 or 7pm to set you up for wow in the evening.

#15. Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done.

#16. Work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to recover and refuel (another game-changing move I personally use to do my best work).

#17. Write a Stop Doing List. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.

#18. Use your commute time. If you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day – get this: at the end of a year, you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. I encourage you to use that time to listen to fantastic books on audio + excellent podcasts and valuable learning programs. Remember, the fastest way to double your income is to triple your rate of learning.

#19. Be a contrarian. Why buy your groceries at the time the store is busiest? Why go to movies on the most popular nights? Why hit the gym when the gym’s completely full? Do things at off-peak hours and you’ll save so many of them.

#20. Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.

#21. Get lost. Don’t be so available to everyone. I often spend hours at a time in the cafeteria of a university close to our headquarters. I turn off my devices and think, create, plan and write. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.

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