Your Country Your Call: Is it Bigger than a Breadbox?


In the unlikely event that I wanted to run a national competition offering a cash prize of mysterious origin in exchange for total ownership of an idea of such staggering- almost mystical- potency that it could restore a nation of modern-day serfs to spectacular success, I think I’d have to go into it without a preconception of what that idea would look like.

After all, I’m looking for a ‘game changer‘ to alter society . How could I know what that is? Almost by definition, I don’t have a precedent. Perhaps the steam engine? Calculus? Gunpowder? The mathematical concept of Zero? Monotheism? The Novel?

Who can know what shape such a wonderous notion might take?

Apparently, the Your Country Your Call people know with surprising detail:

Ferdinand von Prondzynski

“we are assuming that a winning entry will generally be such that it would not involve serious IP issue” – on

Padraig McKeon

YCYC is not looking to find and reward an invention or a specific business idea… YCYC is looking to identify an area of identifiable potential to either create something that hasn’t previously existed or to turn something that exists but is not being exploited into something that could create prosperity and jobs at an entirely different level from what currently exists… it is less likely in our view that there will be much IP in such a broad concept – On

To be absolutely clear, this competition is not about identifying specific business proposals which might result in the development of one product, or growing only one company’s work force. It is looking for something that is still at the concept stage and needs to be worked up. Winning proposals will describe a significant preparatory process which could require legislative, administrative or procedural change before implementation can be effected.- On

YCYC is “not [looking for] a business… [but] an industry” – On

Take it that we have no desire to limit the possibilities and neither are we in any way seeking to cod anyone.- On

So there you have it. All you need to do is come up with an entire new industry- which is not a business or business idea, doesn’t create jobs for any particular company, isn’t an invention- as that would involve a lot of Intellectual Property (IP)- is entirely new or is old but not being used an will require laws, custom and/or practice to be changed if it is to work. Oh, and it then has to save Ireland.

It’s almost as if they were trying to describe something they already had in mind…



  • Shame Iceland have beaten us to the Free Speech Haven idea.

    Maybe we should go in the opposite direction, beef up the blasphemy provisions in our legislation, and become the worldwide home of religious prosecution. All suits would have to be taken through the medium of Irish, should do wonders for the first Official Language, while attracting rich and foolish litigants from all parts of the globe.

  • These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tupp_Ed: A new Tuppenceworth blog post: : Your Country Your Call: Is it Bigger than a Breadbox?

  • Stan says:

    “an entire new industry — which is not a business or business idea, doesn’t create jobs for any particular company, isn’t an invention — […] is entirely new or is old but not being used and will require laws, custom and/or practice to be changed if it is to work. Oh, and it then has to save Ireland.”

    Here’s your game changer: Political accountability.

  • It’s rather a lot of money to offer for such an idea, given the variables involved in implementing the idea. For example, how can one be sure that the Government will react and implement the required laws?

  • Rossa – as I said before. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along.

  • steve white says:

    it cos they aren’t looking for anything at the end its a PR campaign. David Byrne former Irish AG and EU Commissioner, is telling the people of Ireland, “you broke you fix it, it was nothing to do with us”

  • Tom says:

    I had presumed that this was a PR stunt of sorts by Cisco. After all, a quick ‘View source’ on the Your Country Your Call website shows that the whole thing is actually hosted as a subdirectory of the Cisco website.

  • Sarah says:

    Great article in the IT today Simon. I thought the project was just BS – but its actually quite sinister! Well done.

  • Imelda says:

    Well I’m glad the 5,855 people who have submitted proposals were not blinkered by this waffle. I am sick to the teeth of the all too Irish attitude of site here and pick holes rather than actually doing something constructive. Cynical comments and navel gazing achieves nothing.

    If you’ve that much time on your hands why not try to ‘out’ the real fraudsters in government. Máire Geoghegan Quinn is this weeks scape goat, they’re all guilty of doing the exact same if not worse.

  • One thought strikes me. If you have an innovative idea with some element of new invention to it and some form of technical component then you can patent it.

    But not if you’ve disclosed it by publishing it, such as by submitting it to YCYC.

    The Patents Office apparently spend a lot of time and effort around the Young Scientists exhibition to try and get the childer to properly protect their ideas for just this reason.

    If you disclose it, your idea ceases to be novel and instead is old hat. And then someone can simply trawl the Young Scientists exhibition (which they do) or the YCYC website (which they probably are), find your idea, make a subtle yet significant tweak and then patent it themselves.

    And in the unlikely event of you having patented your idea before submitting it to YCYC it seems the terms and conditions require you to assign that patent to the promoters.
    *sighs in dismay*
    The concept of YCYC is good. The execution is poor and leaves too many important questions hanging.

    As for Imelda’s dismay at people navel gazing and not doing something constructive, I think Simon has done a very constructive thing by asking a simple set of questions which have, it would seem, raised big questions about how the government is spending taxpayer’s money during a period of fiscal rectitude. That to me looks like an excellent job of outing a potential misallocation of public funds to support a private enterprise.

    I’ve written previously on my blog about how the €2million, or even the €300k that YCYC still claim they are getting from the Govt, might otherwise be spent to help existing start-ups (like myself) to achieve their goals faster. If the Dept of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation is giving a chunk of cash to YCYC then it is at the very least taking €100k from the budgets to fund Enterprise, Trade and Innovation respectively.

    The pie does not get larger by wishing it so.

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