Since our inception, our passion has been assisting companies in becoming more innovative in their approach to doing business.
We are Ireland’s leading applied Service Innovation Centre, located in the School of Business at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). At RIKON we link our university-based researchers and our business developers with the business sector and organisations, as well as local and national government authoritiy.
Our expertise ensures that we direct efforts towards real solutions that have a tangible positive impact on your business performance. Our pioneering methodologies are rooted in extensive field research, partnerships and collaborations with our international network of service innovation centres and research professionals.
Our service innovation consultants work with clients to design, define and implement innovative strategies and processes that will allow your organisation to differentiate its service offerings and increase its performance.
In addition to our work with the private sector, RIKON is heavily involved in academia and contribute to government policy. Core researchers in the Centre have published in a wide variety of books, referred journals and leading international conferences. They have also designed award winning educational programmes for businesses focused on service innovation, management capability and business development.
The RIKON team currently comprises of an academic and commercial team who both work together extensively on projects. The academic team is made up of senior researchers, post-doctoral, doctoral and masters students, and academic research assistants. Our commercial team is made up of business developers who all come from industry with extensive expertise and work collaboratively across our five service areas.
RIKON has significant experience working with firms of all sizes and from numerous industry sectors including Retail, IT, Tourism, Financial, Food and Beverage, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Service Providers and many more. Our proven proprietary services have been developed based on research and our direct experience from developing practical solutions for our clients. Our experienced but affordable service innovation consultants will collaboratively work with your business to design, define and implement service innovation strategies, processes and new services that will deliver and add real value to your business.
We seek to improve and further expand our position as the leading centre for Service Innovation research in Ireland and gain an international reputation for our activities in service innovation research, teaching and practice. We are passionate about service innovation and take great pride in being able to offer a wealth of experience and access to world class knowledge and services. We aspire to be the best option for our research and business partners when it comes to choosing a service innovation provider.
Our Mission: To assist companies to become more innovative in their approach to doing business.
The “RIKON Way” is built on fundamental ideals of service to employees, customers and the knowledge economy. These ideals serve as the cornerstone for all RIKON employees and guide our decisions and our behaviors:
• Passion: We show pride, enthusiasm and dedication in everything that we do. We are passionate about our research, brand, services and people and delivering real value to our clients.
• Accountability: We accept responsibility for our actions. We make and support management decisions through experience and good judgement.
• Excellence: We strive for research excellence and are dedicated to satisfying our clients, partners and employees needs and honoring commitments that we have made to them.
• Integrity: We employ the highest ethical standards, demonstrating honesty and fairness in every action that we take. We do not comprise the truth of our work.
• Empowerment: We empower our staff to take initiative and provide support for each other’s efforts. We respect all individuals and value their contributions.
• Motivation: We celebrate success, recognising and rewarding the achievements of our talented people and teams.
• Innovation: We foster a culture of enquiry where innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged and rewarded.
• Community: We strive to maximise the economic and social impact of our work to enhance our region and country.
RIKON’s history is a story of evolution and its origins begin in 2004, when the School of Business at Waterford Institute of Technology had the vision of helping small and medium sized companies become more competitive. At the time, there was a core number of staff within the School, that had returned to academia after numerous years in industry and noticed that companies needed the knowledge contained in third level institutions but did not know how to access it. Also, academics wanted to contribute their knowledge to help companies develop but did not know how or who to give it to.
It was decided to create a Service Innovation research centre as expertise of the core staff was centred in innovation, business development, market analysis, management & staff development, service design, marketing and branding expertise. The industry focus for the new service innovation centre was the tourism industry. The tourism industry was chosen for a number of reasons. First, a number of staff had direct experience of the industry. Second, The National Tourism Authority and other tourism bodies were calling for more research in the area and greater involvement from academia in tourism; and third, the tourism industry was identified as a major vehicle for achieving national/supranational goals of regional socio-economic equity and cohesion which was part of the Schools remit. Therefore, in 2004 the Tourism Research Group (TRG) was established. It was envisaged that the service innovation expertise contained within the core research team should provide real value to research, education and industry. TRG wanted to leverage the knowledge that was contained within the School of Business, WIT and their National/International academic networks to assist companies in their business endeavours and also to incorporate these learning in to research projects.
TRG’s initial project in 2004 was a joint Wales / Ireland initiative funded by the ERDF under the Interreg IIIA Community Initiative Programme 2000-2006. In partnership with Fáilte Ireland and LEADER groups (and Planned in Wales) a project titled TWIGS (Tourism Wales Ireland Green & Sustainable) was initiated with the main objective of enhancing the development and marketing of rural tourism products in the relevant destinations resulting in the generation of higher spend on distinctive, authentic destination experiences, and the even distribution of increased visits throughout the destinations in the and calendar year.
The project was such a major success and became the pre-cursor to the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Learning Network (TLN) initiative. In 2006, TRG secured the contract to manage and coordinate the network programme in the South-West and South-East of Ireland (Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary). The programme was 12 months in duration and in that period over 440 tourism operators participated. The programme involved small tourism firms taking part in a dynamic learning process involving an on-line learning community, residential training events, workshops, themed seminars, and local network meetings. The on-going personal development of the tourism providers was also addressed as participants were eligible to receive a Certificate in Tourism Business Practice, which was awarded by School of Business at WIT. TRG’s delivery team made major contributions to the success of Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Learning Networks in the south and south-east regions under their management, the TLN programme achieved three major national awards in 2008: the Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award and the Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Vodafone Innovation in Government Merit Award.
Also in 2006, senior faculty researchers within TRG were very successful in securing national and international research funding. This was a major move forward for the research group. Indeed, there was a substantial expansion of researchers and research activity within the group. Moreover, because TRG were extensively interacting with industry, companies were increasingly requesting assistance with business issues that they were facing. This success necessitated the establishment of a more formal governance body for the group’s tourism research and consulting activities to ensure cohesion and the building of critical mass in areas of research. Consequently, in 2006, TRG changed its name to Solutions in Tourism Education & Practice (STEP) Research Group to reflect the level of research, teaching and consulting activity that group was engaged in.
In this period, the reputation of the group both on a national and international level began to increase due to core researchers in the Centre prolifically publishing in a wide variety of books, refereed journals and leading international conferences. They also designed award winning educational programmes for businesses focused on service innovation and business development.
STEP continued to grow throughout 2007 and due to the expansion in people and expertise, other industries besides tourism became the focus of our service innovation research activities. Consequently, in 2008, due to this increased industry interaction, and in addition to its extensive academic research programme, STEP established an applied research programme in the field of service innovation to specifically deal with contract research & development and consulting services across a broad range of industry sectors. Business developers were sourced directly from industry into the Commercial Unit (CU) to specifically interact with companies and to direct efforts towards real solutions that would have a tangible positive impact on business performance. The net result of this development is that CU became the commercial arm of the research group and focused on the market opportunities that emerged from STEP’s research activities. The idea of an applied research centre where both academics and professional business developers collaborate to deliver real tangible benefits to industry began to be recognised as a unique selling proposition. Indeed, the emphasis and the ability to link its university-based researchers and its business developers with the business sector and organisations, as well as local and national government authorities made it different from other research centres and this was appreciated by the industry.
By the end of 2008, STEP was no longer exclusively a tourism group. While tourism remained a significant proportion of research and commercial activity (e.g. Tourism Learning Networks), the research group had evolved and was now engaged in significant research partnerships and contracts with the industry agencies and with firms of all sizes and from numerous industry sectors including: Retail, IT, Financial, Food and Beverage, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical and Service Providers to name a few.
To reflect the research and industry shift of the research group, STEP was rebranded as a full service innovation provider and renamed RIKON (Research in Innovation, Knowledge, Organisations and Networks). Since 2008, RIKON has grown to become Ireland’s leading applied service innovation provider. Our proven proprietary services have been developed based on research and our direct experience from developing practical solutions for our clients. Through our be-spoke service innovation model and methodologies, the RIKON team assist organisations to develop new strategies and innovative solutions that deliver clear and distinctive advantages over competitors. Our innovative methodologies are rooted in extensive field research, partnerships and collaborations with our international network of service innovation centres and innovation research professionals.
In 2012, RIKON opened the first service innovation lab in Ireland. The lab provides opportunities for innovative ideas to flourish and through the state of the art facilities offers a platform for companies and individuals to conceptualise, develop and transform ideas into real product and services concepts.
In addition to our work with the private sector, RIKON is heavily involved in academia and government policy. In terms of academia, the centre has created numerous business focused educational programmes and published in a wide variety of books, referred journals and leading international conferences.
Additionally, RIKON works with government authorities providing insight and direction to policy makers on the innovation agenda and our ongoing interactions with leading Service Innovation Centres across Europe ensures that we have our finger on the pulse.
This is what makes RIKON unique.
RIKON HQ is located in the School of Business, Cork Road Campus, Waterford City. Due to our ever expanding portfolio of projects, our Kilkenny office was opened in May 2012 and is located at St. Kierans’s College, Kilkenny City.
RIKON stands for – Research in Innovation, Knowledge, Organisations & Networks. At RIKON we believe that these four themes are the pillars of successful service innovations.