What’s Up, Doc?

On Monday we the first place we visited was Trinity College, the architecture of the buildings were fantastic. My biggest question was if tourist walk in-and-out of the courtyard constantly, because if so, that would be annoying to me if I attended this college. At Trinity, we met Dr. Darren Kelly and he gave us a tour of the Docklands, a neighborhood that has transformed tremendously over the past 20 years. What started as empty lots have formed into giant buildings for major global companies such as PWC, Google, and Facebook. Dr. Kelly’s area of focus is rural growth psychology.

During our tour, Dr. Kelly started the tour by sharing his personal history. He discussed his former academic career, how Ireland in the late 1980s was extremely rural because it missed out on the industrial revolution and his experiences as a professor. As we walked to the Docklands from Trinity College, Dr. Kelly showed us pictures from around 20 years ago of an area we would see later on the tour. One picture showed a few huge empty lots from a birdseye view and another showed a row of buildings vandalized with graffiti. In short, the Docklands’ past was dirty. Dr. Kelly discussed his experiences with the Housing Bubble crisis in 2008 and said: “When the US sneezes, Ireland catches a cold.” Irish banks went into debt because housing wasn’t being bought and owners were defaulting on their loans. Ireland needed to be bailed out since there is no bankruptcy in their country. Germany came along, gave them a loan, and this started the economic boom in Dublin. Most of the building in the Docklands was sold off to Germans and Chinese for 10x less their real value. Ireland missed out on this but they were able to pay off their debt. The Dockland area is being built at an exponential rate and this has increased the value of housing tremendously. It was interesting because even though many expensive housings were built in the last 20 years, across the street from one is a “ghetto” apartment, which offers rooms for 10 Euro a week. In perspective, the new apartments get up to 4000 Euro a month. It is a very interesting gap between two closely located buildings.

Towards the end of the tour, Dr. Kelly made some assertions worth noting. One reason why Dublin has grown so rapidly in the previous 20-30 years is that Irish people are rule breakers. They don’t enjoy rules and as Dr. Kelly pointed out, it is largely due to Britain’s influence on Ireland for hundreds of years. Also, Dr. Kelly said the innovation expanded because Irish education focuses more on creativity than following a rubric. He said Ireland is attractive to businesses because Irish people are good “bullshitters”. They focus on relational customer focus. They know how to think outside the box and generate novel solutions that might break guided directions. Although I thought these were a couple of very neat points, it sounds like Dr. Kelly gave the impression that Americans cannot break the chain of cookie cutter solutions since we follow rubrics to get good grades. Although I agree Americans love rubrics, there are plenty of other Americans who go against the grain and push boundaries. Some of America’s greatest innovators took non-traditional routes to discover novel solutions to problems. Overall, I thought Dr. Kelly’s tour was interesting but I disagree that Americans are not as creative as Irish people.

Overall, yesterday was a great experience. We also visited Google and that site visit was awesome. Feel free to ask me about my experiences with the tech giant. Thanks again for reading!


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