Unraveling Circular Solutions: A Conversation with Professor Michelle O’Dwyer

In the vibrant landscape of academia, Professor Michelle O'Dwyer stands as a luminary in Entrepreneurship at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Her expertise, honed through years of teaching creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship to executive and postgraduate students, fuels her passion for catalyzing positive change within businesses, particularly SMEs.

At the heart of her current undertaking lies an ambitious project centered on elucidating business models for circular ICT SMEs. "This project resonates deeply with my interest in enhancing performance," Professor O'Dwyer explains, highlighting the potential to empower SMEs with sustainable and profitable business models. She envisions the outcomes of this research as a catalyst for driving efficiency, profitability, and environmental stewardship among ICT SMEs.

The research methodology adopted by Professor O'Dwyer and the Trisk Research team at the University of Limerick is as diverse as the objectives they seek to achieve. From structured quantitative analyses to qualitative explorations through in-depth interviews and focus groups, every facet of the industry is meticulously examined. Drawing upon existing literature on ICT and SME business models, the team aims to synthesize a comprehensive framework that integrates principles of circularity. Through this endeavor, they aspire to furnish SMEs with a practical template to navigate daily operations, make informed decisions, and cultivate meaningful relationships with customers.

What distinguishes this project is the collaborative synergy that permeates the Trisk team. Comprising individuals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, they share a common zeal for promoting circularity, particularly within the SME sector. Professor O'Dwyer recounts their journey, noting the rapport cultivated through years of collaboration, including their shared commitment to sustainability during their tenure on the Environmental Committee at the University of Limerick.

As they navigate the intricacies of project management, Professor O'Dwyer emphasizes the importance of balance: "Careful management is essential, yet it's equally crucial to allow space for individual contributions within a cohesive framework." Each team member bears responsibility for distinct work packages, yet their interlinkages underscore the necessity of seamless coordination and communication throughout the process.

Indeed, projects of this magnitude unfold over an extended timeframe, from the inception of the call for proposals to the eventual fruition of results. Despite the temporal investment required, Professor O'Dwyer finds solace in the captivating nature of the project and its collaborative ethos, where time seems to blur in the pursuit of shared goals.

What distinguishes this project is the collaborative synergy between the Trisk team and their industry partner, Green IT, underscoring a shared commitment to sustainability and innovation. Professor O'Dwyer emphasizes the significance of this collaboration, noting the invaluable insights gleaned from working closely with industry stakeholders. Furthermore, she highlights the pivotal role played by funding from the EPA in facilitating this transformative research endeavor.

In the realm of circular solutions, Professor Michelle O'Dwyer and the Trisk team exemplify the transformative potential of interdisciplinary collaboration. Through their concerted efforts, they envision a future where circularity and sustainability converge, reshaping the landscape of SMEs and leaving an indelible mark on the business world.

This article relates to the MainCirc EPA funded research project that is undergoing study in the TRISK research group. More information on the project objectives can be read here:

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