Global success for Scotland’s first virtual national innovation business summit

Scotland’s CAN DO Innovation Summit, held virtually for the first time on 3rd February, attracted 1400 registered delegates including entrepreneurs, academics, investors and innovators from across the globe.

In response to the global pandemic, this Summit was designed specifically for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to explore opportunities, develop new and better business models, drive a sustainable competitive advantage and spark valuable connections - with the hope of leading to exciting collaborative innovation opportunities.

The content from the event is now available to view online through the CAN DO Innovation Summit website.

Dr Susie Mitchell, director of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation said: “It’s been really exciting for us to see how bringing the event online has delivered on making it a far more accessible event for audiences across Scotland and beyond, particularly for our international delegates who joined us from as far as America, Africa and Asia.”

The summit provided SMEs with the tools they require to adapt to current and future economic and social challenges by offering insight from world-leading experts and local talent in the field of innovation.

Fifty industry panellists, keynote speakers and international contributors formed a full day line-up of discussions and talks around the themes of: Journey to a Sustainable Future; Recovery & Resilience; Workplace Culture; Advance manufacturing & Digitisation; MedTech/Health Innovation.

Highlights from the day include keynote talks from Lolita Jackson, Special Advisor for Climate Policy and Programs, in New York City’s Mayor's Office; Ivan McKee, the Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation; Craig Foster, Art Director at Pixar Animation Studios; Chloe Demrovsky, the youngest and first female chief executive to oversee and expand the Disaster Recovery Institute’s international network; Dyan Finkhousen, founder and CEO of Shoshin Works in the US and John Reid, CEO of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS).

Dr Susie Mitchell said: “In the context of the new reality in which we find ourselves, we heard from Lolita Jackson about the critical need to build a truly sustainable society with embedded an inequitable innovation at its heart. Our keynotes Chloe Demrovsky and Dyan Finkhousen advised that now more than ever businesses must be more agile, more open to adopting emerging technology and as resilient as they possibly can be by preparing and planning for the unexpected.

“Our concluding keynote Craig Foster inspired us with the inner workings and core components of Pixar’s peer culture to exemplify the importance of open, creative and collaborative working cultures.”

Dr Susie Mitchell concluded: “We must not be constrained by traditional thinking, we need to constantly challenge assumptions.

“Whether you are a micro-business, SME or large corporate, ramping up digital firepower will now be critical across all sectors, but technology alone is not enough. Creative and empathic leadership, the right culture and mindset, as well as empowered employees, will aid recovery and help businesses to innovate the solutions to build a better tomorrow for people and the planet.”