During our visit to the Guinness Store House, we learned a lot about Guinness’s vast history and intricate, complicated practices that have been improved over the decades to get to the beer that we have now. It got me thinking about the nature of innovation and entrepreneurship, and how a lot of progress can be done from inside a company rather than being a separate entity. For example, the intelligent Michael Ash was integral in creating the “head” of Guinness, the frothy part on the top of the pint glass, in the signature way it is today: by using nitrogen as well as carbon dioxide. This one innovation all those years ago has led to a lot of long-term success for Guinness, and it also happened to benefit Ash. Ash did not have to worry about the short-term pressures that often plague an entrepreneur who is trying to be innovative, which would have come up if he had started a competing beer, for example. He could utilize the already existing strengths of Guinness and devote himself to solving the problem they had about Guinness being too bubbly without having to worry about other external distractions, allowing him to be wealthy in more ways than one.
It makes me believe that “innovation” as a concept is often complicated too much by people because, at its core, innovation is just the attempt of trying to make however things are going now better (tasting better, making less expensive, higher quality, more sustainable, etc) with new ideas. There is oftentimes no need for innovation institutions to facilitate this innovation, especially if it can be done more efficiently in-house. Ash and the Guinness and Diageo corporations as a whole are examples of that. They have practiced the ability to innovate on a large scale ever since they first began operations under Arthur Guinness. Oftentimes, the most impactful innovations are ones that do not get a lot of press initially and are done in-house.
Additionally, while talking outside today, the discussion of high and low context societies made me think about whether or not we were getting a thoroughly Irish experience if we are viewed as tourists. I will compare it to the time after this is over when I am in Dublin and see if it is noticeably different.
My roommates and I assimilated well into Irish culture by showing up late to scheduled events, as many Irishmen have the propensity to do.