Today’s site visit was at Bord Bia. Translating to “Irish Food Board,” this state agency specializes in providing research, insights, consulting services, and expertise for food brands in Ireland with the aim to become more competitive in a worldwide market. They provided our group with a well-organized presentation through which we learned the ins and outs of the company. Bord Bia was much more multifaceted than any of us anticipated; it was fascinating to see how the areas of economics, supply chain, marketing, and information systems integrate into every business decision.
The Industry Talent Manager, Tom Tully, referenced the concept of “Ireland, Inc.” This idea simply references the recent change in the business environment in Ireland, which we have observed in different contexts over the past week. As our program’s focus is on innovation and technology, not only have we discussed the rise of technology companies in Ireland, we have learned about the recent change in Ireland’s culture and economy that has made it more competitive worldwide. When we visited Google in the Docklands area, Darren discussed gentrification resulting from desirable higher-paying jobs in the area. Gentrification concerns all stakeholders, as it requires changes being made to attract and retain a new market of workers. We also observed gentrification in the technology area of Dublin’s The Liberties, which has recently undergone change to accommodate a growing middle class. This area is conveniently located near the city and most of the distilleries.
We have also been told that Irish companies have had to adapt methods to suit the business practices that are utilized worldwide, as Ireland is known for its high-context, adaptable, decentralized company cultures.
Despite the rise of corporations illustrated through the Ireland, Inc. movement, something I have observed is that Ireland works hard to maintain its culture. They do not permit drastic changes to be made to standing architecture. The Pearse Lyons Distillery was built inside a church that carries more familial and cultural significance than anything I have seen before. These examples prove Ireland is a country rooted in tradition, exhibiting much pride for its history; whether or not all Irish citizens agree with the rise Ireland, Inc., I do not anticipate this changing.