The Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange NI launched on Wednesday 8th November at South West College, Dungannon Campus. This event celebrated the strong evolution of partnership between education and businesses in the South West region, and showcased the accelerated level of knowledge exchanges taking place to strengthen Northern Ireland’s innovation capability for the future.
Diarmuid McLean, Head of Strategic Policy at the Department for the Economy highlighted the importance of innovation in the Department’s draft Industrial Strategy: “Accelerating innovation and research in Northern Ireland and enhancing the education, skills and employability of our people are two of the main pillars in the strategy.” He went on to highlight the central role of Further Education Colleges in the delivery of the aspirations set out in the Strategy.
The launch coincided with the College being recently awarded the Investor in Innovations standard by the UK Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange. Michael McAlister, Chief Executive Officer SWC, said;
“The College is the first organisation in Northern Ireland to achieve this standard and now sits with an elite group of companies and academic institutions across the UK who have shown a commitment to innovation. Achieving the Investor in Innovation Award recognises SWC’s success embedding innovation and dedication to sustaining a strong innovation culture for our staff, students and industry stakeholders”.
The Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE) is the UK’s professional body for innovators responsible for accrediting and certifying innovation practices. IKE’s work is guided by the Innovation Council, which brings together a diverse range of elite innovators representing companies such as Microsoft, Thales, Bosch and Panasonic. As a professional body, the Institute runs think-tanks, conducts research studies and supports organisations to benchmark and develop their innovation capabilities.
Key note speakers at the launch included; Professor Sa’ad Medhat and Rafe Offer who added insights into innovation at the heart of a new era of global thinking. Professor Sa’ad Medhat is the Chief Executive of Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, the UK professional body for innovators and a leading provider of SciTech innovation and growth services to business, education and government. Rafe Offer has led teams and innovation at some of the world's best known brands as a Global Marketing Director of Coca-Cola, Director of Global Marketing at The Walt Disney Company and a Director of Innovation for global drinks giant Diageo. Most recently, he became an entrepreneur and Co-Founder of global music start-up Sofar Sounds.
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