Oak Tree Press joins international publisher, Corporate Group

Oak Tree Press, Ireland’s leading business book publisher, with an unrivalled reputation for quality titles across business, management, HR, law, marketing and enterprise, joins the international publishing group, Corporate Group, active in Belgium and Switzerland.

Cork Publishing Ltd (Cork – Ireland), the parent company of Oak Tree Press, has been acquired by JMB Verlag (Bulle – Switzerland) and is now part of the Corporate Group, an international publishing entity operating in three countries (Belgium, Switzerland and Ireland) and five languages (English, French, German, Dutch and Italian). The value of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Pictured above following the acquisition are Brian & Rita O’Kane (OAK TREE PRESS), Axel Neefs and Pierre Delroisse (CORPORATE GROUP).

Corporate Group’s catalogue extends to more than 500 titles, most of them annually updated for all professionals in specific entrepreneurial domains such as business, law, tax, contracts and other company subjects. The group also offers accountancy and investment management software solutions.

Corporate Group’s team of 20 people work with solid distribution partners in their local markets, in addition to direct sales of 50,000+ books, guides and software annually through professional websites across Europe.

Brian O’Kane, founder of Oak Tree Press, said: 

“Oak Tree Press’s reputation in the Irish market and abroad has been built over the past 30 years through the dedication of our authors, publishing team and suppliers, as well as through the support of our customers – individual, organisational and trade. Corporate Group is an excellent fit for Oak Tree Press and offers new opportunities for our titles and authors. I am excited for the future development of the business and look forward to working as part of a wider international team.”

Axel Neefs and Pierre Delroisse, Belgian founders of the Corporate Group, said:

“We are delighted to add this Irish gem to our publishing crown. We are convinced that the many titles developed by Brian and Rita over the last 30 years and the licensing contracts initiated across the world (USA, Korea, India, Australia, Greece and the UK) represent an open door to diversity and development of both catalogues.”

EVERYDAY INNOVATION – review by Dr. Pat McHugh, Brown University, USA

EVERYDAY INNOVATION by Hugh Henry provides a clear and informative how-to guide for establishing and managing an innovation management system within the context of an established business. Dr. Henry is uniquely qualified to write on this subject, having served since 2008 as Director of Innovation and R&D at Bord na Mona plc, where his efforts are helping transition this large, long-established Irish enterprise from its traditional businesses, heavily dependent on peat and fossil fuels, to new more sustainable energy and ecotourism related initiatives. His experience developing a highly effective innovation management system at Bord na Mona provides the foundation for this timely book.

This book will be extremely valuable to all senior business leaders, as well as managers and directors of innovation, new product development and R&D within established firms. While the book is particularly relevant to business leaders in Ireland, given the regionally-specific guidance on topics such as tax schemes and the local nature of the company-specific examples provided such as FBD Insurance, An Post and Arran Chemicals, its accessible style provides insight and practical guidance generally applicable to business leaders globally. While the book is positioned in a crowded space – a book search on Amazon.com for “innovation management” returned 36,734 results – the book’s specific how-to focus, Irish and European-centric context, and, as the title suggests, guidance on “everyday innovation” efforts all broaden and target its appeal to readers. This book belongs on the shelf with Clay Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution, providing practical and executable advice on how to create disruptions (as well as more modest innovations) and thus reduce the possibilities of being destroyed by such change.

While outlining 10 steps to establishing an innovation management system (IMS), the book acknowledges that: “There is no magic formula to follow. However, an IMS is about collecting ideas, prioritizing them and then setting up a review gate, project tracking and project management system.” The need for the market exploitation of the resulting outputs is emphasized and a call for pragmatic consideration in this area is made.

Incremental innovation is encouraged as part of a portfolio approach to the innovation process – as the book states: “The game-changing discovery may indeed happen but it is through the piece-by-piece or incremental innovation that the best results will be seen.”

If a company is not able to directly exploit an innovation, licensing or other paths to market are encouraged to enable realization of economic value.

The book also tackles organization issues, emphasizing that innovation must begin at the top, noting that: “If the CEO does not protect and reward the process, it will fail.” The pros and cons of different organizational models are considered, although the need for a core team, with goals aligned to overall business objectives, to drive the process is suggested.

The book, by design, takes a process view of innovation, suggesting process is critical to building an innovation culture: “To instill a culture of innovation, you must first introduce innovation behavior – and for that, you need the correct processes in place.” Process is also identified as critical to the management of the innovation ideas funnel with five key criteria seen as important considerations to the stage gate process and “fail quickly and cheaply” objective: strategic considerations, feasibility, cost-benefit, market need and resources.

This book was written within a local, regional and international focus on innovation process standardization which receives far less focus in the U.S. As the book notes, there are national standards such as the Guide to Good Practice in Innovation and Product Development Processes established by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in 2009 and European Standards (CEN 16555) and International Standards (ISO 279) for Innovation Management Systems at various stages of development. The book does not position its recommendations within the context of these standards, although their reference at a minimum suggests they informed the book’s recommendations.

In closing, the book is a quick read that serves as a valuable guide to the creation and successful management of an innovation management system. As noted in the book: “Innovation is the process of converting an idea or invention into a product or service that creates value which customers require and are prepared to pay for”, suggesting this new work is, in itself, an innovation of great interest and value to its readers.

The reviewer, Dr. Pat McHugh, is the Director of the IE Brown Executive MBA program and lecturer in the School of Engineering at Brown University in the U.S. He has over 25 years of industry experience with technology companies, including executive roles at three venture-backed firms selling data security solutions. Earlier initiatives include building a call center automation services practice for GTE (winner of the GTE Chairman’s Leadership Award) and an online financial services offering while at IBM Credit Corp. He is the recipient of two patents in the area of call center automation and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Materials Engineering from Columbia University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in business from Bentley University.

Intellectual Property


John P Mc Manus

For many knowledge-intensive or technology-based start-up companies, the professional management of intellectual property (IP) is critically important. In fact, IP may be the main asset by which the value of a young company is determined and on which decisions to invest in the company are based – and so IP needs to be considered very early in the planning process. Intellectual Property: From Creation to Commercialisation provides a detailed grounding for innovators and researchers. The book starts with the source of innovation – that is, at the point where resourcefulness and creativity combine to develop new opportunities through problem-solving – and examines the critical steps that need to be carefully managed in the process surrounding the creation of IP and managing its development from concept through to exploitation. This involves the steps of identifying, capturing and assessing the value of IP. Useful recommendations for managing the transfer of IP from a research environment to the knowledge economy are provided and case studies illustrate pitfalls to watch out for. Readers can expect to gain a broad understanding of IP and the innovation process. Specifically, they will learn: the benefits of implementing procedures to ensure that IP can be protected, managed and exploited effectively; how to assess the most appropriate routes to market, such as licensing or sale of their IP, or establishing a spin-out company to deliver a service or product offering and how to present a viable business case to potential funders and investors.