Purpose of the Research:
This paper aims to examine academic research and industry evidence to prove that Ireland has the framework and capabilities in place to achieve the critical success factors necessary for a knowledge-based economy to succeed as a growth tool for the economy. The researcher seeks to examine if collaboration exists between the three stakeholders (Government, industry and academic institutions). The paper aims to determine whether this collaboration can produce a solution to the manufacturing divestment problem and whether a move towards a knowledge-based economy provides the solution.
Methodology I Approach:
Qualitative data collection was used by the researcher to obtain opinions and attitudes from the three stakeholders about Ireland's knowledge-based economy and their involvement. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted with key senior people across the three stakeholders concerned with establishing Ireland's knowledge-based economy.
In order for a knowledge-based economy to reach the point where all stakeholders feel that Ireland will be innovative and competitive in comparison to other countries will take time and require continuous investment. There also needs to be a shift in Irish culture towards rewarding innovation and risk taking in order to be considered an innovative culture. Other considerations that are critical to the success of Ireland's knowledge-based economy include:
• A pool of highly skilled people supported by a world class education system
• A clearly implemented Government policy supporting the required risk taking and funding
• The creation and protection of intellectual property
• An excellent infrastructure
• Collaboration between Government, industry and academic institutions
• Improved visa regimes for attracting foreign talent a knowledge-based economy will not solve the divestment in manufacturing type operations but to counteract this divestment there needs to be a move up the value chain towards knowledge-based activities.
The researcher would have liked to have conducted in-depth interviews with key senior people in other countries that have a similar desire to shift operations towards knowledge-based activities. This could have further assisted in making comparisons between the stakeholders in Ireland and the stakeholders in other countries. Due to time and cost restraints these interviews were not possible.