Strength in numbers – how attending OWP as a group helped Irish seafood sector
OWP is a chance to gain new knowledge and lead an organization in the right direction. While some companies bring different members of their executive team, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board selected nine of the companies it oversees, to face challenges together and work out how best to disseminate key learnings across the sector.
The Irish Sea Fisheries Board (BIM 'Bord Iascaigh Mhara' in Gaelic) supports the Irish seafood sector, an industry with over 14,000 workers who contribute €1.15bn to Ireland's economy.
This includes everything from onshore, such as fish processing, retailing and business development to offshore: training captains of boats, firefighting, commercial diving, as well as aquaculture (breeding, raising, and harvesting fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants).
However, it faces many challenges, such as a demand for seafood that continues to grow, and ensuring sustainability by driving sustainable and responsible ways of sourcing.
One of its priorities is upskilling and developing industry leadership and it therefore decided to attend IMD's Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) program, bringing together a team of nine companies from across the industry.
"Because BIM works across the Irish seafood sector, rather than just bringing one or two people out, who would obviously benefit from the program as individuals, we felt there was a huge amount to gain from a broader industry group attending," says Ian Mannix, who is Skills Manager at BIM and who brought the team to attend OWP.
He adds: "Although BIM is well-recognized for providing a range of upskilling and training and development in Ireland for the seafood sector, this was our first foray into senior leadership development."
OWP comprises of interactive sessions that cover highly relevant topics such as disruption, digital strategy, transformation, and change leadership. Lasting five days, it also offers an excellent opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from across the globe.
"For us, it was a time to meet other people from different industries internationally, to realize that they're facing similar challenges, albeit in different sectors and to learn from them," explains Ian. He adds that the week at IMD provided the team with the ability to take the time out to think strategically and therefore to look at the wider issues in the industry.
The experience was all the more impactful, says Ian, because they attended OWP as a group. "This meant we had a critical mass and we felt that we had a range of different challenges to work through. It also meant that, as a team, we digested the knowledge after each session and after each day, and during this time we considered the key takeaways."
This, he says, led to them working out the issues that they were really affecting them and to come up with a game plan to take back to the office and how best to disseminate the knowledge from IMD across the broader Irish seafood sector.
When asked to summarize the experience at OWP in three words, Ian says: Dynamic, exciting and challenging. "This has been our first time coming to IMD. The feedback from our clients has been really, really good, and it's something that we'd love to do again, as we got a huge amount out of the week."
OWP takes place once a year in Lausanne and once a year in another major global business hub. This year the second edition will be held in Dubai.
Find out more about OWP