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InterTradeIreland – Protecting space for radical innovation

March 4, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Prof Breda Sweeney & John Power

Organised by: Whitaker Institute and J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics

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Professor Breda Sweeney will be in conversation with John Power, founder and CEO of Galway-based med-tech and drug delivery company Aerogen on the topic of radical innovation. The event will take place on Wednesday, 4th March at 1:00pm and is free and open to the public.

Radical innovation aims to destroy current products, services and business models to create new markets and replace existing ones. The iPhone, Netflix, and Skype are all the result of transformative radical innovation. Businesses that don’t innovate won’t last, and those that want to really stand above the competition need to embrace radical innovation. But businesses are naturally inclined to favour less risky short-term innovations over more radical blue-sky projects. Based on her recent research, Breda will discuss how businesses can use their management systems to protect space and resources for radical innovation. John will discuss his experience of protecting radical innovation in Aerogen and how his company successfully balanced pressure to meet short-term financial targets with a strategy for long-term growth.

The event will be chaired by Dr Emer Curtis


Breda Sweeney is a Professor in Accounting and Head of Discipline of Accountancy & Finance in NUI Galway. She is a member of Governing Authority of NUI Galway and a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, having professionally trained in PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin and Sydney. Breda’s research is in the field of managing organisational performance. Her current research focuses on the role of management control systems in enabling innovation and organisational ambidexterity and in managing organisational tensions. Her research has been published in top international journals including Accounting, Organizations and Society; Accounting & Business Research; Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal; and Management Accounting Research. She is joint editor of Accounting, Finance and Governance Review and has held a number of visiting appointments including Erskine fellow in University of Canterbury in 2016 and visiting professor in Esade Business School Barcelona in 2014. She teaches Management Control Systems on Master of Accounting, MSc in International Accounting & Analytics, MSc in Corporate Finance and MBA programmes.




A serial entrepreneur and former European Entrepreneur of the Year 2015/16. John’s Galway based company Aerogen is the world leader in Acute Care aerosol drug delivery and its award winning products have been used to help treat over 9 million critically ill patients in more than 80 countries globally. John has been a founder co-founder in several successful technology start-ups both in Ireland, UK and USA. He has recognized experience in all areas of corporate transactions and financing from seed through to IPO. In October 2018 John negotiated the introduction of Temasek Holdings Limited (Singapore) as a minority partner in Aerogen. The transaction enterprise value is considered to be the largest achieved by an indigenous Irish Med-tech company to-date.  John holds an MBA from Oxford Brookes University and as a Chartered Engineer and innovator he is personally accredited with many commercialized International patents across a range of industry sectors. In 2016 in recognition of his contribution to the Irish Med-tech sector John was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering by the National University of Ireland Galway 2016 and in 2019 he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing by the same institution. John was a champion of the successful NUIG Bio-innovate start-up incubator and has contributed as a business mentor to numerous early stage technology companies in the region. He has made personal investments in several such companies and sits on the Board of a number local and International companies. As a community volunteer John plays an active role in both the Connemara Greenway Alliance and on the Board of Moycullen Community Development Association with whom he has been a member for over 20 years.