West Cork’s O’ Driscoll sees a bright future as world’s innovators head Down Under

THE  microscope of world innovation is focussed on Brisbane in Australia next week, and funnily enough it’s an Irishman who may be Australia’s brightest hope of having the next great idea.

Ireland’s James O’ Driscoll, 33, an engineering graduate of University College Cork and the National University of Ireland, survived the ruthless culling of 6,000 applicants from 135 countries to be invited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp.

It starts next week (March 26-31) at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. He’s among 120 entrepreneurs, and the only Irishman, from 35 countries who will spend seven days developing a fully-fledged start-up from concept to investment pitch.

James was interviewed for the event by bootcamp alumni Yen Pei Tay, the founder of a start-up that last month was named among the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2017. It was listed alongside global tech goliaths like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Netflix.

The innovation that James will present seeks to prevent heat stroke, and so reduce the fourteen fatalities in ten years in Australia, and the $6.9 billion in annual productivity loss.

It’s an App that, together with an arm patch the size of a band aid, can monitor individuals and share the supervision with colleagues and back to base. He’s not aware of any equivalent in the world.

“I love solving problems and something that saves lives is exciting,” James said. ”This idea is particularly relevant for Australia with its huge and remote heat-stressed regions, and will become even more relevant as extreme weather events become more prevalent in Australia.”

Bootcamp mentors include Boston angel investor Waikit Lau. Lau has grown two start-ups to successful exits, one acquired for $100 million.

For the past five years, James has lived in Brisbane where he runs his data science technology business Construct Agility. His efficiency driven outcomes are often simple, low-key solutions that connect the data across a business.

James was born in Lyre in County Cork, where his parents Donal and Mary still reside. Mary’s cousin is 13-time Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane. His family has lived in the Nadd area “forever”, he says, which is as far back as records can show.

He lived for a good number of years at Clonakilty, County Cork, where he met his fiancé Jane. They plan to marry in France in September. 

For over 150 years, MIT has been a leader in global research. Just last year, MIT in collaboration with others made the first direct detection of Einstein’s previously fabled gravitational waves.