The speed of changes in industries by the advancement of technology is happening faster than ever before. The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality are becoming mainstream. With mobile technology we are always ‘on’.  It’s hard to predict future innovations and their impact on us, the environment, and the future of work.

However, these challenges and opportunities were presented and discussed by industry experts recently at the Sandyford Innovation Forum – The Future of Work in the Pavilion, Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin organised by SandyfordBID.

 The panel pic includes:
Left to right:
Robert Mulhall, MD Retail, Business & Corporate Banking, AIB
Paddy Conlon, Executive Director, CBRE
Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone
Ian Kehoe, Editor, The Sunday Business Post

Peter Cosgrove, Director CPL and Founder of The Future of Work Institute gave some examples of industries that are currently being disrupted:


– Driverless cars and the knock-on effect on car insurance


– The development of a soft silicone 3D-printed heart

– IBM Watson, which is fast becoming the number one doctor in the world


– LawTech, Artificial Intelligence being used in law firms

The question asked was:

Are we ready for these opportunities and challenges?

Peter emphasised that talent is the key differentiator for businesses. He also pointed out the importance of being a good employer in order to retain employees. Other challenges facing businesses are people working from home and the increase of freelancers.

He added that creating a culture for people to innovate and providing exceptional customer services is a win-win formula for all.   He said that there will be winners and losers and the importance of supporting displaced workers.

Donal Travers, Head of Technology IDA, agreed that talent is at the top of the agenda for businesses.

Right talent in the right place is important for The Future of Work

He explained that to attract and accommodate the best talent, the availability of property, both commercial and residential should also be considered a high priority. Livable places, with good transportation links and leisure facilities also are a must.

Other considerations are taxation, corporate and personal. Lastly he spoke of the importance of the support of the Government and the need for it to ‘get out of the way’ when needed.

Donal pointed out that Ireland is well placed for Foreign Direct Investment as it is the one English speaking country in the Eurozone. It is pro-business and will remain a core member of the EU single market and euro currency.

During the panel discussion facilitated by Ian Kehoe, Editor, The Sunday Business Post other considerations about the Future of Work were mentioned.

Answering Ian’s question, “Are we ready for change?”, Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone emphasised how important it is to, “Hire people with a growth mind-set. “

The hot topic of the lack of accommodation was raised. Robert Mulhall, MD Retail, Business & Corporate Banking AIB agreed that it is a massive issue and the focus now needs to be on solutions. He suggested to look at other countries, at their different types of living spaces and the need to change our current mind-set. Paddy Conlon, Executive Director, CBRE agreed that housing is a challenge and he would like to see some long-term planning to address this ongoing issue.

The panel also discussed other challenges such as staying focused on customers, increasing digital skills, and education. They also highlighted the importance of developing other skills required for The Future of Work such as:

– failing fast and dealing with failure

– resilience

– agility

– speed

– empathy

– meaning

– collaboration

– flexibility

– adaptability

– work/life balance

– being a people’s person

– leadership

– life-long learning

It’s difficult to envision or to predict what opportunities and challenges The Future of Work will bring.  However, preparation, having the right talent in the right place, an open mind-set, creativity and innovation are some of the requirements that will help businesses and workers thrive in The Future of Work.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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