Scotland CAN DO: Business Innovation Forum minutes: December 2018

Minutes for the meeting of the Scotland CAN DO: Business Innovation Forum on 4 December 2018.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance

  • Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation (Chair)
  • Richard Rollison (Deputy Chair), Innovation, Investment & Industries Division
  • Birgitte Andersen, Big Innovation Centre
  • Henk Berits, Tourism Industry Leadership Group
  • Audrey Cumberford, Colleges Scotland
  • Ian Hunter, SSAC
  • Will Hutton, Big Innovation Centre
  • Stephen Ingledew, Fintech Scotland
  • Iain Jawad, Frost & Sullivan
  • Andrea Nolan, Universities Scotland
  • Irene McAra-McWilliam, Glasgow School of Art
  • Peter McColl, NESTA
  • Derek Norwood, Devro
  • Elinor Owe, Scottish Government
  • Ian Phillips, Oil and Gas Innovation Centre
  • Yasmin Sulaiman, Creative Edinburgh
  • David Thomson, Scottish Food and Drink Federation
  • Joe Tree, Creative Industries
  • Laurence Ward, Technology Advisory Group
  • Hannah Watson, Scottish Government

Partners and Scottish Delivery Bodies

  • David Howie, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Siobhan Jordan, Interface
  • Jim Watson, Scottish Enterprise
  • David Wilkes, Innovate UK


  • Stuart Fancey, Scottish Funding Council
  • Patricia Findlay, University of Strathclyde
  • Graeme Jones, Financial Services Advisory Board
  • Sandy Kennedy, Entrepreneurial Scotland
  • Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables
  • Keith McDonald, Scottish Funding Council
  • Gordon McGuinness, Skills Development Scotland
  • James Muldoon, Scottish Government
  • Geoff Mulgan, Nesta
  • Polly Purvis, Scotland IS
  • Nora Senior, Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board
  • Reemah Shahnab, POMS
  • Dave Tudor, Life Sciences Scotland

Secretariat - Scottish Government

  • Karen McAvenue
  • Jamie Steed
  • June Love
  • Kris McKeown

Items and actions

1. Welcome

Mr McKee (Chair) opened the meeting, and thanked everyone for attending. He noted that he enjoyed his first Forum and was looking forward to today’s meeting which had a full agenda. The Chair reminded members that following publication of the Economic Action Plan on 24 October, the role of the Forum would be expanded to consider and take action on the business and economic opportunities and challenges of new and future technologies.

2. Minutes and matters arising

The minutes of the previous meeting of 25 September 2018 were agreed by members.

The Chair invited Stephen Ingledew and Irene McAra-McWilliam to provide a short update on the community banking project they proposed at the last Forum. They advised that the project will involve cross-sector collaboration and will engage with the consumer to bring their voice to the fore and deliver better financial outcomes (Papers 05 and 05a - 12/18 refer) The Chair thanked both and requested that they provide updates of progress at Forums going forward.

3. Innovation progress and activity followed by Q&A

Richard Rollison presented recent and future innovation activity, noting that recent figures showed the BERD spend in Scotland in 2017 was £1.247 billion – the highest level in the series back to 2001. 

Key points included:

1. Directly encourage more business innovation

  • Recent Activity: Innovation Support Baseline Survey tendered, Social Media Campaign launched including Invent Calendar #scotinnovation being used on all Innovation messaging on social channels, VentureFest Scotland events
  • Future Activity: CAN DO Innovation Summit and Productivity clubs

2. Use public sector needs and spend to catalyse innovation

  • Recent Activity: SG Innovation Procurement lead appointed.
  • Future Activity: Next rounds of CivTech and CAN DO Innovation Challenge, plus launch of Open Innovation Portal

3. Support innovation across sectors and places

  • Recent Activity: HIE Innovation Support Service, Sector Deals and Ethical Finance/UNDP projects
  • Future Activity: £150m Tay Cities Deal and HIE 2019-22 programme

4. Make best use of University research knowledge and talent

  • Recent Activity: Funding for Interface (£5m) and the CENSIS Innovation Centre (£9.25m), Universities Scotland’s Made It Happen
  • Future Activity: CAN DO Scale, the second phase of Innovation Centre funding and the College Innovation Fund

Richard invited Andrea Nolan to say a few words on Made it Happen, and she advised that the programme had been very successful and they had exceeded their targets. All of Scotland’s universities now organise work placements for students and they have exceeded their goal of 14,000 students and staff participating in enterprise and entrepreneurship workshops by 3,000. Bringing good practice to the fore and setting challenging targets has helped embed the enterprising and entrepreneurial mind-set in the curriculum.

David Wilkes then provided a short update on Innovate UK activity:

  • Funding for all Catapults now confirmed for next 5 years. Total of £1.2bn over next 5 years, including a new announcement of £215m for: Medicines, Digital and Future Cities/Transport Catapults. The latter two are being merged to form one catapult.
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have received a further £25m funding from 2020/21 for applying advanced business practises; building on current £40m programme.
  • A further £120m has been allocated for Strength in Places fund, in addition to initial announcement of £115m - confirming funding for programme until 2021/22.
  • 5 new AI tech centres announced to explore intelligent analysis of medical imaging, supporting Wave 2 ISCF - Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine. Includes £15.8m for the Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics (ICAIRD).
  • (Post meeting note) several ISCF wave 3 programmes have been announced as part of Sector Deals launched last week, notably in the Life Sciences Sector Deal.
  • A new five year strategic plan for Innovate UK is in development and when published in Spring 2019, David will share this with the group.

The Chair thanked Richard, Andrea and David, then invited discussion. Key points included:

  • Karen McAvenue expanded on Richard’s information on the Invent Calendar social media campaign and would share the links for the message to be spread
  • Derek Norwood advised he was working on ‘sticky’ innovation messages in his company and would share these on Slack
  • It was commented that barriers to productivity included not implementing innovation models, lack of skills planning and management leadership. STEM is important but so are other skills, like problem solving and these should be taught. How can we develop adaptive creativity as a baseline skill?

The Chair thanked members for their input and requested that a sub-group be created to consider how innovation and creativity skills can be embedded in our businesses. Audrey Cumberford has agreed to lead this. He also requested that officials provide further background information on BERD, the UK Innovation Survey, e.g. in relation to the overall drop in Innovation-active companies and the rise in product/process innovation.

4. Creative Industries Innovation Snapshot

The Chair advised that at the last Forum meeting, the Fintech, Tourism and Renewables sectors presented their Innovation Snapshots. For this meeting, the Chair invited Yasmin Sulaiman from Creative Edinburgh to present a Creative Industries Snapshot.
Key points included:

  • Creative Industries can assist across sectors providing creative solutions
  • The Clusters Programme is investing in R&D projects in Edinburgh and Dundee
  • GVA statistics for 2016 are down from 2015, but have increased from 2014
  • There is a requirement for those working in the industry to learn new skills

The Chair thanked Yasmin for her contribution to the meeting.

5. Technology trends and Q&A

The Chair invited Iain Jawad from Frost & Sullivan to deliver a presentation providing an overview of a Tech Trend Scenarios project commissioned by Scottish Government’s Strategic Insights Unit. Key points included:

  • The project focuses on how Scotland can better exploit the opportunities and mitigate the risks associated with technological change in the mid-term future
  • It aims to develop scenarios exploring what technological trends and drivers of change could mean for Scotland and use these to develop policies and strategies that are robust, resilient, flexible and innovative.
  • The top trends for Scotland included Robotics & Automation, Quantum, AI and Blockchain. However it should be remembered that this is a qualitative rather than quantitative list

The Chair thanked Iain and invited questions from the members for discussion. Key points included:

  • We need to consider what kind of economy will these technologies create and what behaviours they will instil.
  • We need to ensure citizens are taken with us on our innovation journey and translate the opportunities clearly.

The Chair thanked all for their contributions.

6. Vision Task Force

The Chair invited Birgitte Andersen from the Big Innovation Centre to deliver a proposal presentation on the Centre’s Scotland Vision 2030 Task Force services. The proposal set out to:

  • Commission a Scottish National Innovation and Investment Audit
  • Provide services such as emerging tech and industry knowledge
  • Establish a Future Tech Council looking at policy and regulation landscaping
  • Prototype and present an 15 year implementation roadmap for Blockchain

The Chair then opened up the meeting for the members to discuss the presentation. Key points included:

  • There is no appetite to add to the amount of existing task forces/groups
  • Existing groups should consolidated to concentrate on more delivery
  • We need to consider how to make exclusive technologies, such as digital, inclusive and open up consultation and participation to all not just the young

The Chair thanked members for their input and requested that a sub-group be created to consider ethics and participation. Peter McColl volunteered to lead this and report back on.

7. Forum 2019

The Chair confirmed that the role, remit and membership of the Can Do Business Innovation Forum would be expanded to enable it to consider and take action on the economic and business opportunities and challenges of new and future technologies. The Chair advised that Slack should be used by members to continue collaboration and discussions between Forum meetings, but updates and feedback on the sub-groups and actions should continue to be sent to the Forum Secretariat.

8. AOB

The Chair asked if the members had any other business to report or further comments to make. No further comments or business were raised by the members.

9. Close

The Chair brought the meeting to a close and thanked all for their attendance and participation.


Forum of 25 September 2018 – Actions Carried Forward
1. Arrange meetings between Chair and Forum members – Secretariat
3. Policy leads and OCEA to discuss other statistics that can be used to show progress in
innovation activity - Secretariat

Forum of 4 December 2018 - Actions
1. Provide update on consumer inclusion project – Stephen Ingledew and Irene McAra-
2. Share Richard Rollison’s presentation – Secretariat – Post meeting note - cleared
3. Share ‘Made It Happen’ document – Secretariat – Post meeting note - cleared
4. Share links to Invent Calendar – Secretariat - Post meeting note - cleared
5. Following the release of Innovate UK’s new 5 year plan in the first half of 2019, a short
presentation will be delivered at the Forum – David Wilkes
6. Provide overview paper on Innovation statistics performance – OCEA/Secretariat
7. Commence work on Innovation mapping – Secretariat – Post meeting note - cleared
8. Upload ‘sticky’ Innovation messaging to Slack – Derek Norwood
9. Provide update on Creative Clusters Programme – Yasmin Sulaiman
10. Share Iain Jawad’s presentation – Secretariat – Post meeting note - cleared
11. Share Birgitte Andersen’s presentation – Secretariat
12. Commence work on Data Participation and Ethics sub-group – Peter McColl
13. Set up Skills-focused sub-group – Audrey Cumberford
14. Re-distribute Slack links to members – Secretariat – Post meeting note – cleared



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