Last Thursday I found myself chatting to Gen Y students at University College Dublin’s Michael Smurfit Business school located in the hallowed halls of a building steeped in the history of educating – a truly smart place.
Walking around the Blackrock campus of UCD’s School of Business it struck me that history has a part to play when one thinks about smart spaces and places. I couldn’t help noticing the long association this particular place has with learning and education. Originally, a teacher training college, run by the Sisters of Mercy nuns, these buildings supported that function for 111 years. It has a long and distinguished history as such and produced many noteable past pupils some of whom were taught by one of Ireland’s great poets, the recently deceased , Seamus Heaney.
Thankfully, this marvellous place of learning was saved from redevelopment by the decision in 1991 by UCD to relocate its graduate school of business to this site. Now know as the Michael Smurfit School of Business it too has an impressive pedigree having been founded in 1908, it was the first European University to offer an MBA course in 1964.
One of the highlights of my tour was to visit to the college Library – housed in the shell of a former church whose origins date back to the 19th century the original vaulted roof and stained glass windows now sit comfortably with the new world of WiFi and laptops.
I spent an interesting afternoon talking with MSc and MBA students chatting about transformation and change in the context of their ambitions. Amongst the many questions raised I noted that many concerned how to effectively deliver and sustain change, what are the key success factors for change initiatives and the future of communities in the digital age? All food for thought…