Sunday Herald Digital Futures Debate: ‘Transsexual bodybuilders living a lie’

Scotland needs to change its business culture to embrace risk, encourage ideas and get the most from its workers, according to the second of the Sunday Herald debates on the future of digital in Scotland.

Gordon Thomson, Operations Director of Cisco Scotland and Ireland, saw a gap between invention and sales. He said that there was a need for collaboration between different companies and bodies to bridge this gap.

Raymond O’Hare, Regional Direcotr of Microsoft Scotland, emphasised that while the climate seemed right for innovation to flourish , it seemed like something was missing. He felt there was a need to intensively push those with ideas.

Then Steven Thurlow, Technical Director of Graham Technology, called for a greater appreciation of the power of risk in innovation, using the example of the 39 products that failed before WD40 became a success.

Taking a different tack, Stewart Kirkpatrick, Content Marketing Director of w00tonomy (yay!), said that in order to reach customers all companies, organisations and public bodies had to understand that anyone trying to attract attention on the web was a content publisher because of the nature of the online landscape. Scotland had failed in this respect, he claimed, adding that Scottish organisations and companies (even ones dealing in content) had yet to produce truly great online properties that made effective use of targeted content and the online innovations that engage the user/customer. (An honourable exception is Rockstar North, which produces the insanely successful Grand Theft Auto games.)

All four speakers all emphasised that Scotland needed a change in culture to embrace innovation – a point that was also raised from the floor, along with observations about the need to involve more young people in the debate.

The event was fronted by hyperenergetc ringmaster Iain S Bruce, who characterised the format as being like Kilroy, hence his frequent references to “transsexual bodybuilders living a lie“. However, his mind may have been wandering to the trip to Amsterdam he was going to embark on immediately after the debate ended.

(In terms on “content people”, the event could have been better attended. But it was good to see Alistair Brown, who – given his record at – is about to do exciting things at STV and Shaun Milne, whose knowledge about journalism and digital media far outweighs his understanding of football.)

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