The FuturesIreland project examined the challenge of enhancing Ireland’s ability to innovate, learn from experiments and pilot initiatives, and turn learning into continuous improvement. To explore these challenges, we worked over 18 months with a large group of practical innovators and a smaller group of high-level leaders and thinkers.
The central argument of this report is that Irish people—in business, society and public service—are ready for much greater innovation, more widespread learning and richer accountability; but the capabilities and practices that support these are inhibited by features of our organisational system. This argument has significant implications for how we address the current acute crisis and how we lay the foundations for future prosperity and social cohesion. As in the 1950s and 1980s, Ireland is once again at a turning point. While there are, of course, reasons to fear that we are moving to a more uncertain and less benign context—economically, socially and in public policy—our central argument lends support to a more positive view of the turning point we are in and the transition we might experience. This perspective on Ireland’s ability to create a learning society is derived from the four main findings of the project.