Author Archives: TBR Team

Use criticism to develop yourself!

By Neha Verma

At some point in life, we all face criticism personally or professionally. Criticism doesn’t come easy and at times it is difficult to acknowledge the same. We often get bogged down by the criticism so much that we ignore what we can actually learn from it. So instead of retaliating or being defensive; pause for a while think critically and then respond – though easy said than done.

I am amongst those who would become extremely uncomfortable when criticized. My initial reactions were driven emotionally. I would carry the distress caused by criticism throughout the day and affect my work. Over the time, I realized that we don’t have control over others; how they judge and form an opinion about us, but we can definitely learn to respond in a better way and display our maturity.

If you are going through difficult time combating criticism, I have listed a few suggestions to face criticism bravely:

  • Criticism opens a whole new perspective which you might not have thought of. Life is a process of continuous learning and we learn best from our flaws.
  • When you accept criticism, you show humility towards the fact that you are ready to acknowledge your own weaknesses.
  • Criticism helps enhance your emotional quotient. You learn to listen.
  • Criticism makes you strong; you will learn to tackle difficult situations and people.
  • Criticism enhances your problem-solving skill and makes you a rational thinker.
  • Learn to let go unconstructive criticism, do not dwell on it for a long time and create a stressful environment for yourself.

We are often scared of being judged and are obsessed with the thought of what other people think of us. Most of the time, we receive unsolicited criticism/feedback and we tend to misinterpret the intention behind it. Criticism challenges our disposition and to maintain a calm demeanor becomes relatively difficult. But, remember you are being critiqued because you created something. So, next time when you are criticized, remember you and your work are being noticed. Don’t let opinion of others stop you from doing what you believe in.

Training is an investment, not an expense!

By Neha Verma

Training is an integral part of any organization; it equips the employees with skills required to perform the job. Every organization invests in training their employees that are responsible for giving results. Most organizations/businesses consider training as an expense when it is actually an investment.

There are numerous reasons to invest in training, like; improved quality or in other words reduction in errors or defects, enhanced productivity, increased motivation, helps in retaining the talent pool, capacity building, groom the leaders, etc. Training helps in building capacity within an organization and investing in people is vital as this is the workforce which can bring excellent profits to your business.

In the times of economic crisis, organization often control its budget by cutting down on non-core or non-billable activities, and unfortunately training is one of such activities – if not cancelled completely. However, training can help both employees and organizations in such challenging situations. With the advancement of technology and globalization, there are various methods to reduce the cost of training whilst maintain its effectiveness. Virtual classes, use of instructional system designs, video conferencing and other technological improvements have helped revamp the training making it cost effective. In this era of globalization, where organizations are spread across the globe, such advancement in training delivery techniques are highly cost effective and have reduced the need of face to face training.

Training should be designed to focus on immediate business need and to cater the various talent pool bespoke training or curriculum is the preferred way of keeping at pace with the organizational changes and needs. Training should be pragmatic in approach and directly applicable to day to day activities which will help organizations to measure ROI. An efficiently trained staff with improved skill set will have high productivity and quality, efficient at their job whilst feeling recognized and valued by management.

As leaders and managers, you are responsible for the success of your organization, and developing your people to increases your chance of success. For any organization, people are one of the biggest investments and they should not be left to rust.

Raise Productivity, Work from Home!

By Neha Verma

Most of us often find ourselves working tirelessly day in and day out and still our efficiency is questioned. Spending long hours with our best friend at work – the thinking machine with hunched back and strained eyes, results in stress and serious health problems. The most debatable topic in the corporate world today is optimal utilization of working hours.

Does working for longer hours enhance productivity? Using the time efficiently is the key. Productivity gets a hit to some extent by pleasure principle and procrastination acts as an icing on the cake. Today organizations worldwide are finding ways to increase productivity by utilizing the available resources strategically. UK recently introduced a new law, giving employees legal right to ask for flexible working hours considering that the flexitime might help boost productivity. This concept is not new to the corporate world. Many organizations encourage this trend and have work from home as one of their policies. The unprecedented growth in technology and communication has made it possible. Today no matter where we are, we can get connected with the world in a jiffy. However, implementing this law at country level may change the working dynamics.

This new law has questioned our age-old concept of being physically present at work. The concept of work from home sounds interesting but it is not easy to work from the confines of one’s home in a pyjama throughout the day.

Behavioural attributes like:

  • Self-discipline
  • Commitment
  • Result-driven
  • Accountability

Will play a key role in the successful implementation of this law. This can act as a motivational for a lot of employees particularly for women employees and working mothers as there will be a choice for them to stay at home and work.

Working from home not only enhances productivity and provides flexibility but it is eco-friendly as well – there would be controlled traffic, less consumption of energy and office space etc. I know there must be a lot of corporate pundits who would disagree with the concept of working from home but in the long run this trend is here to stay.

So, ditch going to the office and find a suitable corner of your house where you can work productively, be flexible, save travelling time and avoid emotional and mental stress.

Rezero: Trinity Start-Up Changing the Environment for the Better

Do you buy takeaway food? Are you frustrated at the packaging waste left behind? There’s a solution coming! Rezero drastically reduces single use food packaging through an innovative deposit-return system for reusable containers, the first of it’s kind in Ireland. You can now enjoy your food, reduce environmental impact and consume more consciously!

Rezero is closely connected with Trinity. David Weitbrecht completed his undergraduate degree in Management Science (MSISS) before working for a professional services company. It was there he met Dan, who was training (unsuccessfully) to be an accountant. The pair spent their lunchtimes discussing business ideas from translation apps to receipt analysers. Dan left to work in the tech industry, David left soon after and founded ZeroWaste.ie originally selling low waste products such as bamboo toothbrushes through e-commerce B2C.

He quickly realised that B2C sales have a low impact and began to explore options in the B2B world. The food service industry caught his eye as an industry producing an enormous amount of waste where innovative solutions could make a difference. What if businesses switched from plastic coffee cups to compostables? And Zerowaste.ie handled the Supply and Disposal? David approached Dan to join at this stage and the duo were reunited. They pitched to the Climate KIC accelerator facilitated by Tangent and operating out of Trinity College and received 5k to go from idea to business plan.

During this period, David, along with a Donegal Councillor ran the PosterFree.ie campaign encouraging all candidates in Ireland to run plastic poster free during the 2019 May local elections. The #Posterfree campaign garnered national media attention featuring on RTE TV, Newstalk, Today FM, The Irish Times, The Sunday Business Post along with 100+ news articles from across the country.

“While in the accelerator, it became clear that we, as a company, needed to promote reuse over single use. From speaking to business owners and looking in bins the length and breadth of the country, we recognised that compostables were not a long term solution. Climate KIC recognised this as well and thus we were back to the drawing board”, said David Weitbrecht whilst speaking to TBR.

However, motivated by the prospect of something great, they pivoted and focused their efforts on longer term solutions, solutions that follow the core principles of the circular economy. Experiences at festivals and abroad brought encouragement to the idea of a deposit-return system working in Ireland. Out of ZeroWaste.ie, Rezero was born. 

By enrolling in Trinity’s postgraduate course in Creative Thinking, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, David could once again tap into Trinity’s support network for early stage startups. With the new idea, Rezero successfully pitched to join the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES) incubator and has been hard at work finalising the mechanics of the system and laying strong foundations for future national growth. Containers have been sourced and the relevant health & safety/hygiene regulations investigated and satisfied. Six early adopters, all mid-market businesses, have partnered with Rezero to mark the beginning of a 2020 national launch and rollout. Additional partners are actively being recruited to grow this number ahead of the 2020 launch.

“We will scale Rezero to all major food service outlets over the next 6 to 24 months. To achieve our vision of eliminating as much single use packaging as possible, Rezero has set it’s eyes upon international expansion. Our goal is to change consumer habits and be a catalyst for more circular economy based ventures.”

Keep up to date with their social media @zerowaste.ie and @rezero.io for all things circular economy and zero waste.

They’re looking for members to join their team. If you are passionate about having an impact in an exciting and growing startup, please email them at support@zerowaste.ie!

Meditree – Trinity Start-Up Tackling Administrative Inefficiencies in the Healthcare Sector

1) What do you do and how did you get started?

Abs and I were talking about how he is finding his start as a full-time doctor at the Galway University Hospital. He started mentioning a lot of bottlenecks in the workflows and how manual a lot of the document processes were. A second, more alarming factor, came from academic research experience of how hospital data quality becomes a bottleneck when trying to implement the latest technologies to healthcare domains. The data is usually either manually created or does not exist at all. This significantly inhibits innovation and improvement in the industry.

This concerned us about the future of Irish Healthcare. A nail in the coffin was figuring out that Ireland has been consistently falling in the rankings of the EuroHealth Consumer Index, currently being 22nd out of 36 countries. Worst of all, it’s the lowest of all countries in accessibility, and doing bad in several other metrics, including Patient rights and information. So we decided to combine our disciplinary knowledge (Computer Science and Medicine) to find ways of streamlining workflows for multidisciplinary teams in healthcare, all while maintaining data interoperability, reconciliation and security.

Our solution aims to provide healthcare professionals with an online platform to access, publish and collaborate on Multidisciplinary Medical Documents.

These medical records are persisted into a knowledge graph. This interconnected data allows healthcare professionals to gain further insights that they were not able to extrapolate before. Within the rampant age of big data, a solution to aid in the fundamentals of Organic Intelligence is critical, and we strongly believe that solution is MediTree. Our initial phase seeks to streamline the phlebotomist’s workflow. Meditree allows surgeons to set a recurring order for patients in need of regular blood tests. Blood test results are key in monitoring a patient’s recovery post-surgery. Meditree would then enable such requests to be sent directly to Phlebotomists, cutting out the lengthy, manual request process entirely, all while keeping a record for reconciliation and enhancing of analysis for future patients undergoing similar surgeries, e.g. Giving options of the most reasonable tests to give the current patient. Making the Records an ever-learning model.

2) Tell us about the team:

Uzair Qureshi – Masters student in TCD in Computer and Electronic Engineering. Uzair has worked at the ADAPT Research Centre as a Research Intern working on Linked Data Quality Assessment. He also worked at Mastercard Dublin as a Software Engineer, where he won their regional hackathon, the intern hackathon and filed a patent with them. He has also won JCIs Top Outstanding Young Persons 2018 and won an Innovation award from Engineers Ireland & ARUP. He has a great interest in Research and looking for domains of application for the latest advancements in technology.

Abd-Al Rehman Tahir –He finished his Doctorate from TCD Medicine, and has a breadth of knowledge in medical practices, having done rotations in several different hospitals for 3 years and now working full time as a Student Doctor at the Galway University Hospital. Mohammed Elsayed – Is a third year student at TCD Medicine with great experience in Medicine and a keen interest in Medicinal practice and research.

3) How far along your business plan are you now?

We are starting off with our research phase where we establish credibility in our solution and knowledge of the problem. This is being done through writing short articles highlighting the current plight of healthcare management and how we aim to solve it. We are currently working on writing a white paper on Data Interoperability Issues in Multidisciplinary Teams within Irish Healthcare.

4) Plans for the future?

We hope to become a trusted academic and research entity that would be working in unison with the Government Sector (using data to highlight and optimize usage of healthcare resources) , Hospitals (Helping healthcare professionals streamline their workflow by cutting manual processes and enhancing organic intelligence) and Academic Institutes (mediating the data for purposes of academic research which aims to enhance healthcare for the future ). Potential challenges run into HSE, and how to manage the integration process efficiently, we are learning more and more with how other programs are being initiated into hospitals.

Commercial Law’s Fear of Electrocution – An Analysis of the Law’s Reluctance to be Energetic in Deeming Energy as a “Good”. Is Change a “Good” Idea?

By Luke Gibbons

It is unquestionable that commercial entities, would not function without energy supply. Further, as Bridge outlines, “there is no doubt that energy…[can be] bought and sold”. (Benjamin’s Sale of Goods,9th.edn.2014). Thus, the fact the judiciary and legislator have failed to clarify whether such constitute “goods” under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, and therefore, accrue heightened remedial availability than “services”, while providing no definition of “services”, and as White states, no principled reason why this protectionism to goods exists, is abhorrent.(White,Commercial Law,2nd.edn.2012).

It is regrettable that a definition requiring tangibility, from a period when energy was not paramount is stifling jurisprudential and legislative development, as “there are …difficulties attributing to energy … legal qualities of… physical objects”.(n1) Consequently, a multijurisdictional solution has developed, distinguishing “bottled” from “flowing” energy, as held in Bradshaw v Bothe’s Marine[1973]35.DLR.(3d)43, with the former being deemed “goods”. Although unfavourable in an already uncertainty area, it is submitted, such may be necessary. This is contended as Part IV of the 1980 Act only implies “terms” akin to “conditions” implied to sale contracts, if a contract is held to be for supply of services, and following Carroll v An Post National Lottery[1996]1I.R 433, a narrow view of  such is proffered. Thus, one contends, if this distinction was not held, there would arguably be no protection for commercial entities who buy “bottled” energy, as such may not be deemed a service, and also, not be subject to the proposed Consumer Rights Bill 2015.

Further, it is argued, the definition’s impact is exacerbated, as energy is considered a “good” in many Statutes such as, the Consumer Protection Act 2007. In spite of such, one must question, to remedy this arbitrary distinction, is it feasible for energy in general to be deemed a “good” under the 1980 Act, now that “services” are offered protections?

It is arguable, the dearth of cases may warrant maintaining the status quo. Furthermore, it is contended, if energy constituted a “good”, s.35 may be invoked, deeming acceptance by “use”, being an act inconsistent with the seller’s ownership. However, it is noted, as such is expressly subject to s.34(1) allowing for reasonable inspection, and as such allows operation, subsequent to Benstein v Pamson Motors Ltd[1987]2.All.ER.220, the “use” of energy uncovering a “latent defect” for instance, may give rise to more favourable remedies to “buyers”.

Nevertheless, a determination that energy is a “good” may arguably detrimentally effect remedial availability. Currently, in energy being a “service”, implied terms are “innominate terms”, warranting damages or termination depending on the breach’s seriousness, as denoted from Hongkong Fir Shipping v Kaawasaki Kisen Ltd[1962]2Q.B..26. However, it is contended, if deemed a “good”, claims would likely be made under s.11(3) of the 1893 Act, arguing; if some energy was consumed prior to rejection, a partial rejection occurred, and thus, implied conditions would be converted into warranties, with damages being the only remedy. Further, although White requests allowance of partial rejection as in the UK, it is argued, such would not assist as energy would likely be subject to the “commercial unit” exception. Thus, the only solution to this quandary may be “freedom of contract” in allowing such, although as monopolised energy suppliers are often the dominant party, this seems unlikely.

Furthermore, retention of title clauses are hallmarks of sales contracts, as such provide remedies for sellers, when “goods” are sold on credit. Although, White contends such are common where “goods” are consumed before credit periods end, the recent case of PST Energy v OW Bunker Ltd[2016]UKSC23 held, in relation to fuel, one cannot obtain title to something that no longer exists, so it cannot be a transaction with such at its heart. Thus, it is argued, in undermining a key remedy when buyers become insolvent, and a foundation of credit arrangements, this holding encapsulates why deeming energy as “goods” is unworkable.

It is submitted, due to the difficulties outlined, the Sales Law Review Group’s recommendation to hold implied terms for services as “conditions” in legislation should be adopted. Although, it is noted, this may not fully remedy the remedial deficit offered to “services”, such would allow commercial users of differing energy forms, seek relatively equal remedies bringing some homogeneity to the law.

Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

By Andrés Soto Ramos

Key Points:

  • Importance of diversity in the workplace
  • Diversity and inclusion?
  • Healthier organisational climate:
  • Prevents knowledge inbreeding
  • Enhances employee engagement
  • Encourages open communication

Enough has been said about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In the digital era that we live in, organizations are under heavy scrutiny of society and can face severe brand image damages if they are caught not following inclusive practices.

We can see an example of this in how U.S. companies have been quick to dismiss any situation in which racial profiling or any kind of abuse to minorities has taken place in their establishments, that are often resulting in the termination of the employee that caused the issue. But business should not advocate for inclusiveness only because it is what our society expect, they should also consider the positive impact in the bottom line of fostering diversity and inclusion within their organisations.

What exactly is diversity and inclusion? These two words are often (wrongly) used as synonyms in advertising or company communications, but it is important to remember that they do not have the same meaning. Instead of going into the dictionary definition of each, we can explain these with a simple metaphor that has proven useful to clarify this subject in corporate environments; diversity means that everyone is invited to the party, and inclusion means that everyone will also be invited to dance. Therefore, diversity an inclusion (D&I) in the workplace translates to building a talent pool of individuals from different background, gender, age, creed, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, languages, education, etc; and to nurture an environment in which everyone feels safety in sharing their opinions and that allows them to have access to the same growth opportunities.

While this feels again as an overly romanticised definition that companies can use as a sales pitch, organisations that adopt D&I practices are bound to reap on a wider and more valuable set of benefits that come from a healthier organisational climate:

Prevents knowledge inbreeding

Just as the organisms in an ecosystem have higher disposition to a set of diseases when they share a common gene-pool, organisations that hire and promote individuals from similar backgrounds to management positions are prone to adopt ideas within an identical line of thought, therefore reducing the chance of bad ideas being scrutinised and discussed, and limiting the innovating output.

Enhances employee engagement

Companies around the world invest millions of dollars per year in workshops and teambuilding activities to promote employee satisfaction. But since most modern workers will spend at least a third of their day in their workplaces. Satisfaction and engagement can be also improved by fostering a safe climate in which different opinions are respected and equally taken into consideration. Individuals will show higher attachment towards organisations that genuinely value their contributions.

Encourages open communication

Companies with a diverse workforce that is empowered to openly communicate and share their opinions are most likely to display efficient conflict resolution within their work groups. As well as better problem-solving techniques due to the flexibility that comes with open-mindedness and respect for others’ opinions. In opposition, individuals that feel threatened or judged will refrain from communicating the issues they perceive in their companies due to the fear of being prosecuted by their peers. Consulting data and reports on diversity and inclusion have consistently proven a strong correlation between better financial performance and the adoption of D&I practices. Individuals and managers must not ignore this evidence and advocate for inclusive companies not just because of the positive advertising that can be generated because of this, or simply to follow what can be considered a trend in modern human resources practices. Building a truly inclusive workplace can become a real competitive advantage for organisations, with a direct impact in their climate and overall company performance.

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