Digital Innovation Lab opens at WIT

Salesforce sponsored facility set to be “a very different space”

We’re in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – an incredible wave of innovation and technology that is radically transforming our economies, our societies and our daily lives. This can be observed in our lives every day with smart devices that keep you always on and connected, shopping via voice command, self-driving cars.
Nowhere is the upheaval of the Fourth Industrial Revolution more likely to be felt than in the workplace.
As with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will profoundly affect people’s lives as AI and increased automation see many types of jobs change. At the same time, entirely new categories of jobs are emerging.

Teachers and students at WIT will use Salesforce Technology to supplement and enhance their digital media education via a 32-desk lab which has been designed to inspire collaboration and interactivity. Pictured from left: Dr David Dempsey (Salesforce), Professor Willie Donnelly (WIT President), Charlotte Cuddihy (School of Business Student) and Minister of State John Halligan. 					| Photos: Patrick Browne

Teachers and students at WIT will use Salesforce Technology to supplement and enhance their digital media education via a 32-desk lab which has been designed to inspire collaboration and interactivity. Pictured from left: Dr David Dempsey (Salesforce), Professor Willie Donnelly (WIT President), Charlotte Cuddihy (School of Business Student) and Minister of State John Halligan. | Photos: Patrick Browne

Salesforce believes business has an important role to play in helping the workforce of the future develop the skills that will help them succeed and thrive in this newly innovative world. Its charitable arm has given more than $1.6 million in grants to support “Future Ready” organisations in Ireland including CoderDojo, Citywise, Codeplus, Educate Together, Bridge21 and St. Peter’s School in Bray.
Salesforce is proud to be working with Waterford Institute of Technology to sponsor a new Digital Innovation Lab for digital marketing students within the Institute’s School of Business.

The lab (officially opened on Tuesday last) was co-designed with WIT by Salesforce’s Innovation and Marketing teams and uses themes and design concepts focused around collaboration and interactivity.
The lab aims to be a very different space to a traditional academic ‘practical room’ and is focussed on bringing the digital skills to life for the students of WIT. The design of the lab is focussed on promoting collaboration with in a circular rather than linear layout. There is also a library space for students to sit and reflect. In addition, a collaboration wall runs along the side where ideas, concepts and even draft coding can be written directly onto the wall for everyone to work together.

As part of Salesforce’s partnership with WIT, the company will also be lending its expertise, providing guest lectures and seminars to their digital marketing students. The students will also be given direct access to Salesforce technology, ensuring the digital marketing skills they develop are based on real world experience and not abstract theory.Doctor David Dempsey, Salesforce’s Ireland Country Leader explained why the company were so pleased to support this project as part of their continued commitment to Ireland. “Ireland is a significant part of our history and was our first-ever Salesforce hub outside of the US and opened in 2000,” he said.

“In January we announced that we are growing our regional hub in Ireland committing to add 1,500 new jobs in the next five years. Giving back to the communities where we work has always been a part of our story, and as we grow so that commitment.“The new Digital Innovation Lab which we are sponsoring is the latest initiative as part of Salesforce’s commitment to deliver digital skills education to the future workforce across Ireland. We are particularly glad to be supporting this initiative in the South East of Ireland recognising the importance of support skills development across the country.”David got his PHD in WIT and hails from Wexford.In January, Salesforce recently announced plans to add as many 1,500 jobs to its already 1,400-strong workforce as part of an effort to maintain the company’s strong growth levels.

The 430,000 square foot development may well have a further 100,000 square feet added subject to planning, with a new six-storey tower to form part of the project. The possibility of having extra jobs in the south east is also a possibility as technology can mean more people can work remotely.Given Salesforce’s commitment to WIT and their systems here, there’s a prospect that the company could outsource jobs to the South East in the future, The Munster Express has learned. At the launch, John Halligan the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, welcomed the new partnership. “Deepening collaboration between industry and the education and training sector is a key objective of the Government,” he said.

“This is an exciting example of how this can be achieved and will be of great benefit to next generation of digital marketing students. I would like to congratulate WIT and Salesforce on their endeavours and wish all of the students every success as the continue their studies in this new and inspirational environment.”
Minister Halligan, who recently visited China with a WIT delegation, spoke about the “mixed blessing” of disruptive technology, be it via the mobile phone or online shopping. He noted the great progress being made in terms of innovation at WIT and cited the successes achieved in the field of agri science.
Said Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of WIT’s School of Business: “The Digital Innovation Lab sponsored by Salesforce will enable the School of Business at WIT to hasten the transformation of its curriculum to develop the digital skills of its students. In particular, it will enable our marketing graduates to be digital leaders in customer engagement for the companies that they work for in the future.”

“The marketing discipline has been transformed by online platforms and customer data. WIT’s School of Business mirrors these trends in its curriculum. Salesforce is the global leader in customer relationship management software and, through its partnership with the School, has provided the School with a major opportunity to be at the leading edge of digital marketing engagement and analytics.”“The School of Business’ Digital Innovation Lab also facilitates collaborative learning among our students and with our faculty. Its round table design encourages peer sharing, its group working space provides an ideal place for students to develop ideas together, and its writing wall; a location for brainstorming. The colours and images in the lab’s logo and murals are designed to capture the imagination and creativity of business students using the lab.”

Marketing-related courses available at WIT’s School of Business include:
BA (Honours) in Marketing and Digital Media, Bachelor of Business (Honours) – Marketing stream, Master of Business – Marketing stream, Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Digital Marketing Practice and Master of Business in Digital Marketing Practice.

According to Chloe Driver, a Fourth Year Marketing and Digital Media student at WIT: The Digital Innovation Lab enables us to apply digital practice to our theory-based academic modules and this will equip us for the digital skills we need in today’s marketing roles.”This newspaper met several other students at last Tuesday’s launch, all of whom were delighted to have this new lab at their disposal.

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