Saturday 22 October 2016

'Don't try to change everything at once - the key to success is to innovate strategically...'

What I wish I’d known before I started

Dr Sean Rowland, founder and president of Hibernia College

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Trust is central, says Dr Sean Rowland
Trust is central, says Dr Sean Rowland

'For any business to be successful, to grow a significant share in its market and go on to become a leader in its sector, strategic innovation is key.

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"Business leaders need to have an in-depth knowledge of the sector they are operating in, and use this knowledge to identify the specific areas where they want to grow and develop. I have learned that trying to take an innovative approach to everything you do, at the same time, just doesn't work. Focusing on a number of key areas and providing innovation around these particular areas can generate significant growth for an organisation.

"In the education sector, we identified two areas where innovation was required: accessibility and affordability. We established Hibernia College as a leader in online learning at a time when digital learning in Ireland normally extended as far as a class in Microsoft Word.

"We also wanted to provide students with a study method which did not force them to leave home; some cannot afford to do so while others have commitments which keep them at home. In Ireland today, there is an urgent need to develop a third-level finance model, so that students have affordable access to the funds they need to progress their studies.

"If we don't do this, we leave ourselves open to the unsustainable growing cost of higher education which the taxpayer will ultimately end up paying for. Hibernia College students pay for their courses without taxpayer support.

"When it comes to setting up and ensuring continued growth of your business, the importance of having people you trust and having a positive morale in an organisation can't be emphasised enough. A strong team is a recipe for success in the long term.

"The team we have in Hibernia College in 2016 is the best we have ever had. I believe this is as a result of the positive atmosphere the team have created through open and regular communication and by recognising the good work taking place day-in, day-out.

"Our management team push and challenge each other to deliver the best service that we can for our students. And when you have buy-in from everyone on the team, you're on the road to success.

"For any business starting out I would say get advice, look to your peers. It's important to be able to trust the people you are working with - up to a point!"

Sunday Indo Business

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