Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum minutes: September 2016

Minutes for the fifth meeting of the Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum on 14 September 2016.

Attendees and apologies


  • Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work (Chair)
  • Jamie Coleman, Codebase
  • James Dunbar, New Start Highland
  • Prof Dame Anne Glover, University of Aberdeen,
  • Will Hutton, Big Innovation Centre (by telephone)
  • Prof Irene McAra-McWilliam, Glasgow School of Art
  • Dr Tracy Shimmield, Scottish Marine Institute
  • John Waddell, Archangel

Partner and delivery organisations:

  • Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK
  • Donna Chisholm, Highland and Islands Enterprise
  • Stuart Fancey, Scottish Funding Council
  • Jim Watson, Scottish Enterprise

In attendance:

  • Sandy Kennedy, Entrepreneurial Scotland
  • Ken Sutherland, Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems
  • Andrea Nolan, Universities Scotland
  • Roddy Macdonald, Scottish Government
  • Alexandra Stein, Scottish Government
  • Kevin Brady, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Fowlie, Scottish Government


  • Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy
  • Melfort Campbell, Imes Group
  • Shane Corstorphine, Skyscanner
  • Cathie Cowan, Health Innovation Partnership Board
  • Prof Patricia Findlay, University of Strathclyde Business School
  • Peter McColl, Nesta
  • Prof Andrew Morris
  • Geoff Mulgan, Nesta
  • Derek Norwood, Devro plc
  • Dr Tracy Shimmield, SRSL Ltd
  • Ken Scott, Alexander Dennis Ltd
  • Liz Ditchburn, Scottish Government, DG Enterprise, Environment and Innovation
  • Gary Gillespie, Scottish Government Chief Economic Adviser
  • Mary McAllan, Director Economic Development


  • Karen McAvenue, Scottish Government Innovation Strategy Team
  • Lynne Blair, Scottish Government Innovation Strategy Team 

Items and actions

This note provides an overview of the key points arising during the fifth meeting of the Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum (henceforth referred to as ‘the Forum’).

Agenda item 1 – Welcome, opening remarks

The Cabinet Secretary welcomed members, thanking them for their continuing commitment to the Forum.

He remarked that new unemployment figures had been released showing Scotland had a lower unemployment rate than the UK in total. Mike Russell has also been appointed to lead on protecting Scotland’s interests during the UK exit from Europe. EU nationals are vital to the economy and Scots should still participate in the opportunities, whether funding or collaborative, that Europe offers. The Programme for Government reiterates the confidence we have in the Forum and together we will work to build close links with the CEA to help drive the economy.

Agenda item 2 – Minutes/matters arising

The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed.

Agenda item 3 - Enterprise and Skills Review update

The Cabinet Secretary invited Alexandra to deliver an update on the Enterprise and Skills Review.

Alexandra advised that there are three underlying principles behind the Review:

  • concentrating on the needs of the user
  • making the support system simpler
  • enabling Scotland to reach the top OECD quartile for productivity.

The findings from Phase one of the Review will be published in Autumn, with Phase 2 running into 2017.

Agenda item 4 - Innovation Scotland Forum

The Cabinet Secretary introduced Andrea Nolan, who is a member of the Innovation Scotland Forum (ISF).

Andrea indicated that the main question the ISF had was where they fitted with the Forum as they were keen to ensure their work was aligned and not duplicated; this was essential as the Enterprise and Skills Review progresses.

The ISF are working on their Innovation Action Plan which concentrates specifically on university/business interface. This was agreed in October 2015, and whilst there haven’t been major changes, momentum has been gained.

Agenda item 5 - Innovation Action Plan

The Cabinet Secretary introduced the breakout sessions, and the draft Innovation Action Plan was discussed. The following comments were fed back:

Building connections

  • some of the measure we have are quite ‘clumsy’, being years out of date, new innovative measures should be considered
  • encourage more collaboration between the HE and business sectors, breaking down barriers
  • improve ways into universities for businesses


  • talk ourselves up
  • tell the innovation story
  • ask simple questions, e.g. What will make us prosperous?
  • use role models
  • good news stories
  • bottom-up promotion
  • digital can enhance SMEs
  • mentorship can encourage and enhance


  • public sector can stimulate more innovation demand
  • looking for a disruptive step change not an incremental one
  • we have a good foundation which requires a co-ordinated approach to build momentum
  • bring together various mentoring schemes together
  • scale up - how do we create real companies of value


  • comms are essential and need to focus on the right things
  • media tend to sell on negative rather than positive which could be detrimental
  • for credibility, the voices used need to be authentic
  • journalism has its own pressures and their role as influencers may have changed
  • ‘bottom up’ rather than ‘top down’ stories are important
  • inclusive and participative action required with inspiring examples for all ages
  • acknowledging when there have been difficulties which have been overcome, and celebrating these
  • agility and speed is essential

The Cabinet Secretary thanked all for a useful discussion and advised their comments would be noted by officials.

Agenda item 6 - Pilot projects update

The Cabinet Secretary invited the project leads to present their pilot proposals.

The Health and Wellbeing pilot proposal was introduced by Ken.

They will set up an industry led and shaped innovation accelerator with NHS Scotland, Social Care and Enterprise support delivering economic growth based on the following:

  • deep collaboration between industry and the NHS leading to increased exports and productivity gains
  • a Pathfinder accelerator where SMEs effectively and efficiently engage with the NHS to bring new innovations to market
  • team Scotland’s capacity and capability accelerating innovation in the Highlands and Islands from the new Innovation Hub in Inverness
  • businesses responding to NHS Open Innovation challenges and engage in Scotland’s first three-stage SBRI with a built in adoption phase
  • Highlands and Islands providing an agile, business focused location for SMEs to design and test Health and Wellbeing products and services and act as a best practice exemplar for Scotland

Jamie presented the Digital Pilot proposal.

They are aiming for:

  • full assessment of every digital company / business idea in the country
  • structured three step program for companies / ideas with good potential
  • mentoring by genuine experts
  • curation of international network of current doers
  • best practice structure for worldwide scale
  • engage students and universities to build the best spinout factory

A brief Manufacturing pilot update was provided by Roddy, who advised:

  • SE are commissioning consultants
  • various partners are involved
  • they were investigating the possibility of Private Sector investment

Further information will be gathered by officials to allow a full discussion and decision to proceed to be made at the next Forum meeting.


The Cabinet Secretary thanked members for their contributions and requested that they consider the Forum Refresh paper, Innovation Action Plan, and Forum pilots in light of the day’s discussion and send any comments to the secretariat. Responses to the Forum Refresh paper shall determine the date of the next meeting, and the secretariat shall confirm this as soon as possible.


  • all to send any comments on Forum Refresh Paper, Pilot Proposals and Innovation Action Plan to officials
  • Secretariat to advise the date of the next meeting.

13 October 2016

Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum - 5th meeting - 2016 10 07 - minutes.docx

Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum - 5th meeting - 2016 08 29 - agenda.docx

Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum - minutes from previous (4th) meeting - paper 1.docx



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Scotland CAN DO Innovation Forum
Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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