Published on in Reshaping Business

According to Alan in The Hangover: “Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon”. Whether Alan knew anything about tiger eating habits is debatable, but the bachelor party were only too happy to get that tiger back to its rightful owner!

Ireland had obviously fed its Celtic tiger too much cinnamon as it backed away and the country went into recession. However, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) promoted by the IDA has continued to deliver the smart pepper we need to encourage a new form of Celtic Tiger renewal.

Ronan Coy & Gina QuinnI recently represented Fujitsu Ireland at the latest Dublin Chamber of Commerce SMART series event, discussing FDI. The packed event featured Martin Shanahan of the IDA and Gina Quinn of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Before the event I looked at not just the macro factors influencing investment in Ireland but also the very origins of the word “smart”, particularly within the context of the work we do at Fujitsu Ireland and globally.

An old German word, the word “smart” originally meant “to cause pain”. This will come as a surprise to many, particularly when we consider its positive connotations and usage, for example, Smart Events, Smart People, the Smart Economy, all of which denote intelligence, innovation, invention and ideas.

I particularly enjoyed Martin Shanahan’s speech, in which he described the various indicators which demonstrate how Ireland is growing and continuing to compete on the world stage. This progress is primarily underpinned by the capacity to evolve, and to work and act smart, illustrated by the fact that Ireland has evolved from a primary producer to a manufacturing and services focused country.

While we may never be wholly sure of exactly how the word “smart” evolved – we do know how Ireland has – through successful foreign direct investment.

Our Data-Connected Heritage

This ability to innovate has been evident in Ireland down through the ages. Think about St. Patrick, who you might say was the first to use an infographic. He took a complex and abstract issue, and made it simple to understand, with the use of a visual aid – The Shamrock. The Irish national emblem is basically a smart infographic.

Many great Irish innovators have followed in his footsteps. Carlow’s own John Tyndall famously discovered why the sky was blue, but also had a hand in modern fibreoptics; his ‘light pipe’ was a forerunner of the fibreoptics which power our hyperconnected world today.

George Boole was a computing pioneer at Queen’s College, Cork, who developed computer logic that drove the modern ICT industry, and Robert Boyle developed chemistry that led the way for our pharma industry.

A Future of Digital Pepper

Much of today’s great innovation has been made possible due to FDI, the pepper for Ireland’s future Tiger.

Ireland continues to lead the way in Innovation.  Building on our proud history, Ireland today is a fantastic place to develop the future of society & business, with over 25,000 people employed in R&D.  The signs are bright for the future too, with a steady rise in demand for Engineering & Technology courses at University.

Yet much of this would never translate into real benefits for society & businesses without global investment.

At Fujitsu, we are committed to our own investment, not only in cash but in jobs, technology & innovation excellence that makes a real difference to people.  Our smart IOT technologies being developed in Ireland to enable higher quality of living for the elderly or disabled are a perfect example.

The future of business is increasingly digital, and for Ireland to take a leading role in the global economy, it’s essential that our companies are empowered to innovate and evolve. Fujitsu is ideally placed to help our customers scale and grow with capabilities such as MetaArc – a business-focussed digital innovation platform.

Ireland has all the ingredients to be a leader in the global marketplace, but the fuel for this growth is sustainable investment. This investment is the pepper to feed Ireland’s new Celtic Tiger renewal, based on the Smart Digital economy.

So, for all of us who do business in Ireland – it’s our responsibility to feed the tiger, by securing the investment to innovate our digital future.

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