Scotland CAN DO: Business Innovation Forum minutes: September 2018

Minutes for the meeting of the Scotland CAN DO: Business Innovation Forum on 25 September 2018.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance

  • Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation (Chair)
  • Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work
  • Richard Rollison (Deputy Chair), Innovation, Investment & Industries Division
  • Henk Berits, Tourism Industry Leadership Group
  • Marina Curran, OCEA
  • Will Hutton, Big Innovation Centre
  • Patricia Findlay, University of Strathclyde
  • Stephen Ingledew, Fintech Scotland
  • Sandy Kennedy, Entrepreneurial Scotland
  • David Lott, Universities Scotland
  • Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables
  • Irene McAra McWilliam, Glasgow School of Art
  • Peter McColl, NESTA
  • Joanna McKenzie, The Data Lab
  • Derek Norwood, Devro
  • Elinor Owe, Scottish Government, Creative Industries (observer)
  • Jessica Scriven, OCEA
  • Reemah Shanab, POMS
  • Yasmin Sulaiman, Creative Industries
  • David Thomson, Scottish Food and Drink Federation
  • Joe Tree, Creative Industries
  • Laurence Ward, Technology Advisory Group

Partners and Scottish Delivery Bodies

  • Stuart Fancey, Scottish Funding Council
  • Laura Goodfellow, Interface
  • David Howie, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Ian McCoull, Scottish Enterprise
  • Keith McDonald, Scottish Funding Council
  • David Wilkes, Innovate UK
  • Paul Zealey, Skills Development Scotland


  • Audrey Cumberford, Colleges Scotland
  • Ian Hunter, SSAC
  • Graeme Jones, Financial Services Advisory Board
  • Siobhan Jordan, Interface
  • Andrea Nolan, Universities Scotland
  • Geoff Mulgan, Nesta
  • Gordon McGuinness, Skills
  • Development Scotland
  • Ian Phillips, Oil and Gas Innovation Centre
  • Polly Purvis, Scotland IS
  • Nora Senior, Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board
  • Dave Tudor, Life Sciences Scotland
  • Jim Watson, Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Government secretariat

  • June Love
  • Karen McAvenue
  • Kris McKeown
  • Sharon Miller

Items and actions

1. Welcome

Mr McKee (Chair) opened the meeting, and thanked everyone for attending. He noted that this was his first Forum and he was looking forward to meeting members in the future. He advised that he was keen to identify how the Forum can be used, strategically, to increase and encourage innovation. He remarked that the meeting ahead would be interesting, noting in particular the presentation of the Innovation Snapshots, which Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, would be attending to hear.

2. Minutes and matters arising

The minutes of the previous meeting on 24 April 2018, were agreed by members.

3. Innovation progress and activity followed by Q&A

Richard Rollison presented on the current economic position, and recent and future nnovation activity. To ensure an open and transparent process, copies of the resentations will be published online alongside the minutes. Key points included:

1. Directly encourage more business innovation

  • Recent Activity: The first £15m released of the £45m R&D Boost for business.
  • Future Activity: Scottish Growth Scheme support being expanded to cover debt (up to £1m), microfinance (less than £25k) and equity (£1m+).

2. Use public sector needs and spend to catalyse innovation

  • Recent Activity: CivTech 3.0 - 118 applications for 10 challenges – from stopping illicit trading to re-using products in the NHS.
  • Future Activity: Next round of the CAN DO Innovation Challenge.

3. Support innovation across sectors and places

  • Recent Activity: Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre funding to create high value jobs and attract R&D investment.
  • Future Activity: Building Scotland Fund is a capital based approach to business led R&D or innovation offering loan or equity to non-public sector organisations

4. Make best use of University research knowledge and talent

  • Recent Activity: College Innovation Accelerator Fund (£100K): £4K has been offered to all 25 colleges to support their business development strategies.
  • Future Activity: £11.6m for universities to support business partnerships and UK Industrial Strategy activity.

The Chair thanked Richard and invited discussion. Key points included:

  • Sectors are not limited to working in their own area, cross-sectoral collaboration is of increasing importance.
  • Scotland has been successful in collaborations with Innovate UK, e.g. Robotics.
  • There’s a challenge to build a culture of innovation in the workplace.
  • Businesses do not always self-identify as innovative.

The Chair thanked members for their input and contribution to the discussion.

4. Innovation Snapshots presentations

The Chair welcomed Mr Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, who joined the meeting.

The Chair advised that following the last Forum meeting in April, Stephen Ingledew (Fintech), Henk Berits (Tourism), and Claire Mack (Renewables) had been invited to work with SG, the Enterprise Agencies and the DataLab to pilot the completion of Innovation Snapshots for their sectors. The Snapshots are an attempt to present sectoral innovation information in a consistent manner to facilitate collaboration and provide ‘real-time’ information on the current innovation position, complementing the more commonly used historic statistics. The Chair invited the three sector representatives to deliver their snapshot presentations.

Stephen Ingledew - Fintech
Key points included:

  • FinTech is cross-sectoral, not solely financial: it has economic and societal benefits
  • Credentials exist in Scotland for it to be a global Fintech hub
  • Fintech businesses in Scotland have risen from 26 at the start of the year to 60; some of these are new but others have relocated to Scotland.

Claire Mack - Scottish Renewables
Key points included:

  • Innovation is in the DNA of the Renewables industry
  • Offshore wind is the industry’s key innovation success story
  • Small Scottish islands have world-leading, innovative energy systems

Henk Berits - Tourism
Key points included:

  • There is a need to leverage and amplify small-scale Tourism projects
  • The industry is leading a campaign to get young people working in Hospitality
  • A baseline needs to be devised to measure innovation in the industry

The Chair thanked all and invited Mr. Mackay for his thoughts on the presentations.
Key points included:

  • R&D spend is less than expected, but Scottish reputation in R&D is strong
  • SG cannot design solutions, but can create an enabling environment
  • The Snapshots were useful, mind opening and generated excitement

The Chair thanked him for his contribution, noting that his thoughts on the Snapshots were similar. Mr. MacKay then left the meeting.

5. Innovation Snapshot Insight

The Chair invited Joanna McKenzie from DataLab to address the members. Joanna had helped Stephen, Claire and Henk with the visualisation part of the process and shared her thoughts on the future of the snapshots. Key points included:

  • The Snapshots should be an iterative process.
  • Look back at the Snapshots and consider what the information provided tells us about each sector in order to apply that understanding to other sectors.
  • People need to be involved in data, instead of just gathering information.
  • Improvements in one sector can be applied as a tool to assist another.

The Chair thanked Joanna and agreed that sector crossover has great value and through this we can make connections to facilitate the creation of world class, exportable products.

6. Q&A and discussion on Snapshots

The Chair then opened up the meeting for the members to discuss the Snapshots, asking members to also consider how we all – Public sector, Private Sector, etc. - can make innovation happen and also help develop the cross-sectoral connections required to grow world class products, advising that he was looking for actions.

Key points included:

  • The Snapshots are a hugely important form of baselining to gauge innovation performance
  • Supplementary information should be captured: e.g. job quality, fair work data
  • The Open Innovation portal can showcase what everyone is doing to boost innovation
  • Scotland’s location and size can become advantageous for driving innovation
  • It is much easier to collaborate in Scotland

The following points were made as the discussion expanded:

  • Business should develop innovation capability in order to deploy new skills
  • Seek to create a collaborative culture within businesses
  • How does everyone make the most of their networks?
  • The Forum should seek to be a project based environment and more emphasis away from discussion based meetings
  • An online platform would be useful for Forum members to assist any projects
  • The Forum can take issues and seek to solve them in a basic innovation exercise with Forum members taking responsibility for the exercise and report back to the Forum

The Chair thanked all for their input and advised that the Snapshot pilot should be extended to examine a further three sectors with a view to rolling out across the Industry Leadership Groups.

7. Closing remarks

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

Next meeting:
Date and time: Tuesday 4 December 2018, 10am-12.30pm
Venue: National Records of Scotland, New Register House, Dome Seminar Facility, 3
West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT


1. Arrange meetings between Chair and Forum members - Secretariat
2. Provide BERD spend as a share of turnover by sector - OCEA
3. Policy leads and OCEA to discuss other statistics that can be used to show
progress in innovation activity - Secretariat
4. Provide more information on Open Innovation portal – Karen McAvenue
5. Interim proposals of collaborative problem-solving projects to be sent to Chair –
6. Digital platform to permit Forum members to collaboration to be set up -
7. Creative Industries, Food and Drink, and Life Sciences to be invited to complete
Innovation Snapshots - Secretariat
8. Reply to Mr McKee with responses to questions he posed at meeting – All



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