Now that the Scottish Government has published the ambitious National Strategy for Economic Transformation it is time for all stakeholders to work together to turn ambitions into action. When confronted by a challenge most of us are hardwired to act quickly, now might be the moment, however, to actually pause, listen and reflect on what is needed if Scotland really wants an economy that will deliver on a triple bottom line.
One of the most important set of voices we must hear is that of the leaders of the scaling firms which will be the powerhouse of future economic transformation in Scotland. It is these businesses that will do the heavy lifting, translating policy into performance, innovating to create net zero solutions, opening opportunities to build a just and equal society. The leaders of these firms are, however, busy people, they work in many diverse sectors, they are located across all parts of Scotland.
By running a series of Discovery workshops with 50 leaders from these scaling firms and their support ecosystems, we have made this task of listening easy. A summary report that communicates the significance of these businesses and the needs of their founders and leaders has just been published through the Scotland Can Do initiative.
It is clear that the scaleup agenda must be prioritised in Scotland to deliver improved access to talent, markets, investment and know-how. The report details how those doing the heavy lifting want to see this happen. To deliver real change this won’t be about pursuing business as usual, everybody in the support ecosystem needs to acknowledge a step change is needed. Colleges & Universities need to deliver on the real skills needs of scaling firms: Why does no Scottish University have a Professor of Sales? Why is there such a gap in digital skills within the Scottish workforce? Networks of peer-to-peer learning are needed, scaling firms are at the cutting edge of whatever they are doing, they want advice and insights from near peers, those who have just tackled a similar challenge, but does current signposting and networking support this? Collaboration across silos is needed, over compartmentalising a relatively small economy doesn’t open up Scotland’s cross-sector innovation potential. Scotland’s takes a relatively public sector heavy approach, is this significant investment of taxpayer’s money acting as a catalyst by procuring in innovative ways? Is everybody in the ecosystem working to build a clear brand in the minds of potential investors who are increasingly located outside Scotland?
If Scotland listens carefully to these voices, it has an opportunity to develop actions that will really deliver on the ambitions of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Take 20 minutes out of your day to read the report and reflect on the voices of scaling firms before you suggest an action that might seem logical but simply promotes the status quo.
Read the full Scaleup Report here.
Want to learn a bit more about about the report or submit any feedback? We would love to hear from you. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org