Thursday 1 & Friday 2 May 2014
RBS HQ, Gogarburn, Edinburgh

SCDI Forum 2014


The SCDI Forum is the leading policy and networking event in the Scottish business and economic calendar and has a clear agenda - to stimulate economic growth for Scotland. It brings together senior influencers, from across all sectors of the economy, with first-hand experience of success in areas vital to Scotland’s future economic prosperity.

In what is shaping up to be a momentous and busy year for Scotland, the Forum 2014 took place in Edinburgh on Thursday 1 & Friday 2 May, and looked beyond electoral cycles in addressing the long-term opportunities and challenges for the Scottish economy in a global context. 

Recognising that Scotland must be on the cusp of opportunities in areas of global growth, while generating more inclusive local growth, the Forum had particular focus on improvements which evidence shows would strengthen our economic performance:

  •  Innovation - capitalising on the dynamism and potential in our educational institutions, businesses and workforces; successful industrial strategy and market creation; and a greater emphasis on the ‘D’ in R&D
  •  Infrastructure - attracting investment and accelerating delivery to provide competitive, world-class internal and external connectivity
  •  Skills - maximising Scotland’s human capital by setting the pace in the global skills race and enabling everyone to develop and make the most of their talents


The Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland addressed the Forum 2014 Dinner, while The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury opened proceedings with an address for our Friday conference participants.

The Forum is the platform where we generated and discussed the ideas and insights which will now be developed into SCDI’s refreshed Blueprint for the Scottish Economy, for publication in 2015.

Scotland needs more “born-global” companies and people. We're delighted that so many Members took this opportunity to attend Forum and play a leading role in shaping Scotland's economic future.

We would also like to thank our Partners for their invaluable support of, and knowledge contribution to, the SCDI Forum 2014 'Scotland: Beyond The Horizon', which is much appreciated.


BOOKING  -  The cost for participation was as follows:

Full Conference: (incl.Thursday Dinner and full day Friday Conference)
SCDI Member: £380 plus VAT   /   Non-Member: £430 plus VAT

Day Delegate: (Friday Conference only)
SCDI Member: £295 plus VAT   /   Non-Member: £345 plus VAT
Full Conference with Accommodation*
SCDI Member: £510 plus VAT   /   Non-Member: £560 plus VAT

* There were a limited number of places available including overnight accommodation on Thursday 1 May at the Norton House Hotel.  A shuttle bus transfer to and from the dinner and conference was included.



The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury

SCDI-F14-DannyAlexanderMPDanny Alexander is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey. He was educated at Lochaber High School, Fort William before reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. Following university Danny worked in communications, firstly as a press officer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, then spending four years at the European Movement and four years as Director of Communications for the Britain in Europe campaign. In 2005 Danny was elected MP for the newly created seat of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey. He joined the Shadow Work & Pensions team in 2005. In July 2007 was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, holding the post until June 2008, before taking on the role of Chief of Staff to the party leader, Nick Clegg, and being Chair of the Manifesto Group. Following re-election at the 2010 UK General Election, Danny played a key role in the negotiating team and in drawing-up of the coalition document for the new Government. Initially appointed as Secretary of State for Scotland, in May 2010 he became Chief Secretary to the Treasury and was appointed to the Privy Council.

Ken Barclay
Head of Corporate Banking Division Scotland & Chair of Scotland Board
The Royal Bank of Scotland 

SCDI-Forum14-KenBarclay(RBS)cropKen Barclay was appointed Head of Corporate Banking Division Scotland in July 2012. He is also the Chairman of the Scotland Board. Ken is responsible for driving forward RBS in Scotland, ensuring the Bank co-ordinates and aligns its activities for the benefit of customers, with a particular emphasis on helping Scotland’s SME’s and Corporates grow and thrive. Ken’s role also sees him ensuring the Bank engages effectively with its full range of key stakeholders in Scotland. Ken started his career in Scotland and has held a variety of roles in Corporate & Commercial Banking both in Scotland and England. He created and led the Technology, Media & Telecoms banking business in the UK and continental Europe, establishing RBS as a pre-eminent financing partner to the industry. Ken spent two years in Hong Kong as Managing Director, Head of Corporates, Asia Pacific, returning to the UK in 2007 to lead the Corporate and Commercial banking business in Scotland. In late 2009, Ken became Managing Director for Corporate Coverage UK, responsible for a business managing relationships and providing a comprehensive range of financial services to Corporate customers anchored in the UK with a turnover in excess of £25m. Ken is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.

Sandy Begbie
Group Operations Officer
Standard Life plc

SCDI-Forum14-SandyBegbie(StandardLife)cropSandy Begbie is responsible for the group’s people, IT, procurement and communications functions alongside the Asia and Emerging Market business (based in Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore). He joined Standard Life in May 2010 as the Group Transformation Director. He is also a non-Executive Director with the Scottish Government and chairs their Remuneration Committee. He joined Standard Life from AEGON UK where he was HR Director - a role he also held whilst at Scottish Power. Prior to this, Sandy held a number of senior roles at RBS with responsibilities for areas including leadership, management and talent development, business change, organisational development and training and reward.

Diane Coyle OBE
Leading Economist
& Director of Enlightenment Economics

SCDI-Forum14-DianeCoyleOBE(crop)Diane Coyle OBE is a leading economist specialising in the economic and social effects of new technologies and globalisation, and an acclaimed author. Her economics consultancy, Enlightenment Economics, has particular expertise in long-term strategic issues, including innovation systems, competition policy, emerging markets, and corporate governance and institutional reforms, with clients including global corporations, financial institutions, and international agencies. Diane is a visiting research associate at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise & the Environment, and Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust, and will become Professor of Economics at Manchester University from September 2014. Diane has a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. She is the author of books including “The Economics of Enough: How to run an economy as if the future matters” and the recently-published “GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History”.

Brendan Dick
Deputy Chair, SCDI
Director, BT Scotland & Managing Director, BT Regions

SCDI-Forum14-BrendanDick(BT-Scotland)cropBrendan Dick's prime responsibility is to develop BT's Regional activities across Scotland, Wales and the English regions, looking after BT's group-wide interests and driving BT's local agenda across all BT Lines of Business. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, much of Brendan's early career was spent in information technology designing, developing and deploying large systems across the UK. Brendan is Deputy Chair of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Honorary President of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, recent past Chair of Scottish Business in the Community, a CBI Scotland Council member and a member of the Lowland Reserve Forces Regional Employer Support Group. Married with 2 children, Brendan is a keen golfer and an enthusiastic, if slow, recreational cyclist.

Bill Drummond
Chair, SCDI
Managing Partner, Brodies LLP

SCDI-Forum14-Bill Drummond(Chair)cropBill Drummond has been with Brodies for 33 years and has been Managing Partner since 1998. Whilst committed to the principle that providing clients with the quality and level of services they want will deliver Brodies' business goals, he sees his main role as promoting strategy development and operational effectiveness in order to create the framework within which that can happen. He has been an Executive Committee and/or Board member of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Scotland's leading independent economic policy development organisation, for 10 years and was re-elected as Chairman for a second year in March 2014. He was ranked among the UK's 'Hot 100' lawyers by The Lawyer magazine in 2006, was named UK Management Partner of the Year in the 2013 Legal Business Awards and Managing Partner of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards 2014. Under Bill's leadership, Brodies has grown to become the largest independent Scottish law firm with more than 560 partners and staff, and turnover has risen from £8m to £46m, delivering a compound average growth rate of 12% over the past decade. The firm has no bank debt and in 2013 was the only Scottish firm to be ranked by Legal Business Magazine among the 20 fastest-growing UK law firms in organic revenues over the past five years. Brodies is now ranked No.1 in 24 service areas and its lawyers have achieved the most individual top-tier Scottish rankings in the latest editions of the leading independent legal directories. In addition, Brodies is the only Scottish law firm with an office in Brussels.

Geoff French
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

SCDI-F14-GeoffFrenchICEcropGeoff French was Chairman of Scott Wilson for eight years until its acquisition by URS in September 2010, having joined the firm as a civil engineering graduate in 1968. In 2005 he was elected to the Executive Committee of FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, and was its President from 2011 to 2013, he is also a Past Chairman of the ACE (Association for Consultancy and Engineering) in the UK. He became a Vice President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in November 2008, and his Presidential year runs until November 2014. Geoff became Chair of the Enterprise M3 LEP in the UK when it was created in early 2011. Apart from working throughout the UK, Geoff has spent time abroad on behalf of Scott Wilson working in Botswana, China, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE and Vietnam.

Andrew Jamieson
Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

SCDI-Forum14-AndrewJamieson(OREC)cropAndrew Jamieson was appointed as Chief Executive of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in November 2012. He was previously at ScottishPower, where he held key roles in engineering, marketing and financial planning. In 2004 he moved to ScottishPower Renewables, where he was responsible for energy policy and regulation. Andrew was Chairman of RenewableUK from 2010 until February 2014 and is also a former Chairman of Scottish Renewables. He sits on the Scottish Government's Energy Advisory Board and in 2010 co-chaired joint industry/Government working groups to produce the Scottish Offshore Wind Industry Route Map, and the Scottish National Infrastructure Plan, setting out key milestones to achieving thriving offshore wind and marine power industries in Scotland. Andrew also chaired an industry / Government led Cost Reduction Task Force that proposed key actions to allow the offshore wind industry to hit cost targets by 2020.

Stephen Leonard
General Manager, Worldwide Sales, Systems & Technology Group 

SCDI-Forum14-StephenLeonard(IBM)cropStephen Leonard leads sales for IBM's Systems & Technology Group, where he is responsible for setting and driving the global sales and go-to-market strategy for IBM's hardware business. Prior to his current role, Stephen was the Chief Executive for IBM in the UK and Ireland. Stephen joined IBM in 1990 as a Technical Instructor in London. During his career with the company, he has held a variety of sales, sales management and leadership positions, in different parts of the organisation and in multiple global geographies. In addition to his responsibilities, Stephen is Chairman of the (BITC) Business Action on Economic Renewal Leadership Team. He is also a member of the e-Skills UK IT and Telecoms Board. Born and raised in Scotland, Stephen holds a degree in applied physics and electronics from Dundee University.

Sally Magnusson
Conference Facilitator 

SCDI-Forum14-SallyMagnusson(crop)Sally Magnusson is an award-winning journalist, TV and radio broadcaster and writer, who has presented a range of programmes for the BBC, currently including Reporting Scotland, Songs of Praise and the Radio Scotland series Sunday Morning with Sally Magnusson. For many years she hosted Breakfast Time on BBC1. In 2007 the Institute of Contemporary Scotland awarded her a place in the Scottish Academy of Merit for services to the media. Her hard-hitting series, Britain's Secret Shame, won a Royal Television Society award as best daytime series in 2004 and she received a Scottish Bafta for her coverage of the Dunblane tragedy in 1996. Based in Glasgow, she is the author of several books, the latest of which are Life of Pee and her first children's book, Horace and the Haggis Hunter.

Joe Montgomery
Chief Executive
Urban Land Institute Europe

SCDI-F14-JoeMontgomeryULIEcropJoe Montgomery has been the Chief Executive of ULI Europe since April 2011. Prior to joining ULI, Joe spent a decade as Director General in the UK Government's Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). His responsibilities there included the delivery of the East London Legacy for the 2012 Olympic Games, leadership of the Thames Gateway, Europe's largest regeneration programme, and the renewal of some of England's worst housing estates. Prior to DCLG, Joe was Executive Director for regeneration at the London Borough of Lewisham where he was responsible for housing, transport, planning and environmental issues.


Lady Susan Rice CBE 
President, SCDI
Managing Director, Lloyds Banking Group Scotland

SCDI-Forum14-LadySusanRiceCBE(tightcrop)Previously Chief Executive, then Chairman, of Lloyds TSB Scotland, Lady Susan Rice was the first woman to head a UK clearing bank in 2000, and became the first woman to be appointed President of SCDI in 2012. Alongside her roles as both a commercial banker and Bank of England non-executive director, Susan is also a member of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisers. A founding non-executive of Big Society Capital, and previously of Charity Bank, Susan has helped develop numerous social finance models in the US and the UK. Susan chairs the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Edinburgh’s Festivals Forum, and works extensively with Scotland’s National Galleries to ensure a vibrant cultural base in the country. Susan is also a non-executive director of J Sainsbury’s and SSE plc, and through the 2020 Climate Leadership Group, Susan helps lead cross-sector collaboration on reduction of carbon emissions. She is also founding chair of a new Board which is creating, for the first time, professional standards for bankers throughout the UK. She was recently appointed to the Court of Edinburgh University. Alongside a number of honorary degrees, Susan is a Regent of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the RSA, the Chartered Banker Institute and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Kevin Roxburgh
Managing Director
Scottish Gas

SCDI-Forum14-KevinRoxburgh(ScottishGas)Kevin Roxburgh is the Managing Director of Scottish Gas, based at their Headquarters in Edinburgh - a position he has held since October 2009. He is also the Customer Service Director for British Gas, responsible for delivering great service to half the homes in the UK through a team based across the UK, India and South Africa. Kevin started his career with Scottish Gas at 16 as a Junior Apprentice and has spent his career working in a variety of roles including Debt Collection, Customer Service, Learning & Development, The B2B sector as well as the residential market. He has worked extensively in India, South Africa and North America on behalf of British Gas and Centrica. Kevin is a passionate believer in lifelong learning and developed an award-winning Leadership Development programme for the Pay As You Go Energy business (a business he led as MD from 2009 to 2012) in British Gas in 2010/11. During his time as MD, Kevin devised a new business strategy which enabled the business to achieve great success across a broad range of objectives and delivered world class levels of employee engagement and saw Scottish Gas achieve recognition for their commitment to work in the community. Kevin was awarded ‘Chief Executive of the Year Scotland in 2012’ by HR Networks, and chairs the Scottish Regional Board of Career Academies, a charity providing structured programmes of paid internships, mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops to give 16 - 19 year olds the work experience and skills they need to be able to perform in the wider world.

The Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP 
First Minister of Scotland

SCDI-Forum14-TheRtHonAlexSalmondMSPAlex Salmond was born in Linlithgow in 1954. He attended Linlithgow Academy before studying at St Andrews University, where he graduated with a joint honours MA in Economics and History. In 1978 he entered the Government Economic Service as an Assistant Economist in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. In 1980 he joined the Royal Bank of Scotland where he worked for seven years: first as an Assistant Economist before being appointed Energy Economist in 1982 and, from 1984, Royal Bank Economist. Mr Salmond is now a visiting Professor of Economics at Strathclyde University. He was first elected as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987 and was elected as National Convener for the Scottish National Party in 1990. He served as leader of the opposition in the Scottish Parliament when he was elected MSP for Banff and Buchan Constituency in 1999. He stood down as SNP National Convener in 2000 and left the Scottish Parliament in 2001. He was re-elected as Leader of the SNP in 2004 and elected as MSP for the Gordon constituency in May 2007. He became the first ever SNP First Minister of Scotland on 16 May 2007. He won the Aberdeenshire East constituency at the 5 May 2011 election when the SNP won a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament and MSPs re-elected him unopposed for a second term as First Minister on 18 May.

Matthew Taylor
Chief Executive
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA)

SCDI-Forum14-MatthewTaylorRSAcropsmMatthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. During this time the Society has substantially increased its output of research and innovation, has provided new routes to support charitable initiatives of its 26,000 Fellows - including crowd funding - and has developed a global profile as a platform for ideas. Prior to this appointment, Matthew was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister. Previous roles include Labour Party Director of Policy and Deputy General Secretary and Chief Executive of the ippr, the UK's leading left of centre think tank. Matthew is a regular media performer having appeared several times on the Today Programme, The Daily Politics and Newsnight. He has written and presented several Radio Four documentaries and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze. He has written for newspapers including the FT and Observer and journals including Management Today and the Municipal Journal. He has posted over a thousand times on his RSA blog site and tweets as @RSAMatthew.

Stian Westlake
Executive Director of Policy & Research

SCDI-Forum14-StianWestlake(Nesta)cropStian Westlake joined Nesta in 2009. Before this, he worked in social venture capital at The Young Foundation, making and managing investments in a range of social enterprises and founding Healthy Incentives, an innovative health venture. Before this, he spent five years at McKinsey & Company in Silicon Valley and London, where he provided strategic advice to a range of private and public sector clients, focusing on healthcare, technology, and corporate and infrastructure finance. Stian holds a first-class BA (Hons) from the University of Oxford, and a Masters in Finance with Distinction from London Business School. He also pursued graduate work in economics and government at Harvard University as a Kennedy Memorial Scholar.

Robin Watson
Wood Group PSN

SCDI-Forum14-RobinWatsonWoodGroupPSNwbcropszRobin Watson became Chief Executive of Wood Group PSN in 2012, and was appointed to the board of John Wood Group PLC on 1 January 2013. Prior to this, he was UK Managing Director of Wood Group PSN. Robin has over 30 years of engineering and industry experience, with the past 24 years spent in a variety of senior leadership, management, business development, project management and operations management roles, within both the operator and the service sectors of the oil and gas industry. Prior to joining Wood Group, Robin was with Petrofac and Mobil Oil, working both in the UK and internationally. For more than 10 years he has played an active role in some of the oil & gas industry's representative bodies - namely as a board member of Oil & Gas UK and the Oil & Gas UK Contractors Council, member of the Step Change in Safety Leadership Team, co-chair of the 'Step Change' human factors work group, and since 2011 has sat on the Scottish Business Board, a cross-industry leadership group chaired by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Robin is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a Fellow of the Energy Institute and holds an Honours Degree in Offshore & Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). In March 2014 he was named the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland Director of the Year.

Professor Dr Stefan Wolter
Head of the Centre for Research in Economics of Education, University of Bern
& Managing Director, Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education

SCDI-Forum14-ProfDrStefanWolter(UniOfBern)cropProfessor Dr Stefan Wolter is an economist and the Managing Director of the Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education, the national agency for educational research in Switzerland. He is also the Head of the Centre for Research in Economics of Education at the University of Bern. Besides other mandates, he is the Chair of the Group of National Experts on Vocational Education and Training of the OECD in Paris, Swiss Delegate to the Education Policy Committee of the OECD, member of the governing board of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) of the OECD and member of the governing board of the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories at the University of Bamberg. His main research interest is the economics of apprenticeship training and he conducted three large scale cost-benefit studies of apprenticeship in the last ten years for Switzerland.


Stewart Carruth,
Director, Scottish Cities Alliance
Greg Ward,
Director of Economic Development, The City of Edinburgh Council
David Coyne,
Head of City Deal, Glasgow City Council

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Innovating For Resource-Resilient Growth
Nick Morley, Director of Sustainable Innovation, Oakdene Hollins
Dustin Benton, Head of Resource Stewardship, The Green Alliance
Julie Hill, Chair, UK Circular Economy Task Force

Brian Humphrey, Innovation Manager - Vocational Education & Training, Skills Development Scotland
Mike Byrne, Management Consulting Account Lead for Health & Public Sector, Accenture
John McDonald, UK Managing Director, OPITO



SCDI Forum 2014 - Scotland: Beyond The Horizon


18.45          Welcome Reception

19.30          Welcome
                   Lady Susan Rice CBE
President, SCDI

                   Keynote Address
                   The Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP
                   First Minister of Scotland

                   Discussion facilitated by
                   Brendan Dick, Deputy Chair, SCDI,
                   Director - BT Scotland & Managing Director - BT Regions


22.15          Closing Remarks
                   Brendan Dick



Conference Facilitator: Sally Magnusson

07.30          Conference Registration & Networking Breakfast


                    Bill Drummond
Chair, SCDI & Managing Partner, Brodies LLP

                    Ken Barclay
Head of Corporate Banking Division Scotland & Chair of Scotland Board,
                    The Royal Bank of Scotland

                    Keynote Address & Discussion
                    The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP
                    Chief Secretary to the Treasury


Foresighting global trends, long-term economic prospects and how to measure economic success in the 21st century; creating a rebalanced and sustainable economy in which the future matters; the economic and social effects of new technologies, particularly on the future of jobs and economic inequality; and the attractiveness of Scotland for global investment and what needs to be done to address the challenges.

                     Diane Coyle OBE
                     Leading Economist & Director of Enlightenment Economics


09.45            Networking Break


Capitalising on the dynamism and potential in our educational institutions, businesses and workforces; successful industrial strategy and market creation; and a greater emphasis on the ‘D’ in R&D.

                      Stian Westlake
                      Executive Director of Policy & Research, Nesta 

                      Stephen Leonard
                      General Manager, Worldwise Sales, Systems & Technology Group, IBM

                      Andrew Jamieson
CEO, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult


11.20             WORKSTREAM SESSIONS
Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in one of three interactive Workstream Sessions exploring the key Forum 2014 themes. Click here for Workstream details.

                      CITY INVESTMENT PLANS
Speakers: Stewart Carruth, Director, Scottish Cities Alliance;
                      Greg Ward,  Director of Economic Development, The City of Edinburgh
Council; David Coyne, Head of City Deal, Glasgow City Council

                      THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: 
                      Innovating For Resource-Resilient Growth
                      Speakers: Nick Morley,
Director of Sustainable Innovation, Oakdene
                      Hollins; Dustin Benton, Head of Resource Stewardship, The Green
                      Alliance; Julie Hill, Chair, UK Circular Economy Task Force

                      TOMORROW'S WORKFORCE TODAY
                      Speakers: Brian Humphrey, Innovation Manager Vocational 
                      & Training, Skills Development Scotland; Mike Byrne, Management
                      Consulting Account Lead for Health & Public Sector, Accenture;
                      John McDonald, UK Managing Director, OPITO

12.45             Networking Lunch  


Maximising Scotland’s human capital by setting the pace in the global skills race and enabling everyone to develop and make the most of their talents.

                       Prof Dr Stefan Wolter
Head of the Centre for Research in Economics of Education,
                       University of Bern; & Managing Director, Swiss Coordination
                       Centre for Research in Education

                       Kevin Roxburgh
Managing Director, Scottish Gas

                       Sandy Begbie
Group Operations Officer, Standard Life


14.45              SESSION 5: INVEST FOR SUCCESS 
                       - MAKING MORE OF

Attracting investment and accelerating delivery to develop and maximise the benefits of key infrastructure, including energy and competitive, world-class internal and external connectivity.   

                        Joe Montgomery    
Chief Executive, Urban Land Institute Europe  

                        Robin Watson
                        CEO, Wood Group PSN  

                        Geoff French
President, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)  


                        FOR SOCIAL & ECONOMIC PROGRESS?
                        Matthew Taylor
Chief Executive, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts,
                        Manufactures & Commerce (RSA)

16.05               Closing Remarks
Ross Martin
Chief Executive, SCDI

16.15               Close  


Event Partners

The Forum offers partner organisations a unique opportunity to build profile, engage and benefit from the strategic positioning the conference delivers.

It continues to enable partners to contribute to the development of policy and thought leadership on the future prosperity of the Scottish economy, and to work in partnership with Scotland’s most respected business and civic economic development network.


Strategic Partners

SCDI-Forum14-Brodies LLP-150X150-2  

Brodies LLP

With 78 partners and more than 500 staff working across its Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Brussels offices, Brodies LLP is Scotland’s largest commercial law firm, delivering the highest level of legal services and business solutions to all sectors of the Scottish economy and supporting a diverse client base stretching across the UK and overseas. Brodies is ranked No.1 in 24 separate practice areas by leading independent directories, Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Among the numerous national awards and plaudits that the firm has received for the quality of its service, its innovation and use of technology, Brodies was named the Regional Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards 2013, Scotland Law firm of the Year - Who's Who Legal Awards 2013 and Bill Drummond was named as UK Management Partner of the Year by the Legal Business Awards 2013. Whether for Scottish jurisdictional work or the most complex cross-border transactions, Brodies has the experience and expertise in all relevant business areas and sectors. 

SCDI-Forum14-CityBuilding-150X150   City Building (Glasgow) LLP

City Building is a highly successful and evolving business which has a proven track record of strategic delivery within the commercial marketplace. The company has recently been recognised as one of the top 90 businesses in Scotland for employment and diversity and with a turnover circa £200 million, the business is in the top 100 construction companies in the UK. City Building’s achievements over the years, particularly in the areas of sustainability and employment, culminated in the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development. City Building employ more than 2,200 people and support an estimated additional 2,000 people through its supply chain. The company is currently training 400 apprentices across all construction trades making it the largest employer of apprentices in Scotland. City Building’s award winning training academies are the most successful apprentice training centres in Scotland. The scale and flexibility of their multi-disciplinary workforce and broad experience allows them to deliver complex projects of all scope and size across a wide variety of built forms. As a successful commercial business City Building have won in excess of £1 billion worth of contracts in open competition, with effective marketing playing a key role in the delivery of this success.


The City of Edinburgh Council

The City of Edinburgh's economic strategy, "A Strategy for Jobs 2012-17” aims to achieve sustainable economic growth through investment in jobs.
The strategy sets out three ambitious targets:
- Creating/retaining 10,000 jobs; 
- Supporting £1.3bn of investment in physical infrastructure;
- Helping 6,000 people into work and learning.

Achievements since the launch of the strategy include:
- Establishing the Edinburgh 12 initiative, which identifies city centre gap sites with the potential to be delivered within five years. Coordinated support for one of the city’s longest-standing gap sites at The Haymarket is being provided and pre-building works have now commenced;
- Developing a finance package to fund the Edinburgh International Conference Centre expansion and Atria One, delivering much needed conference facilities and Grade A office space for businesses;
- Supporting  the Green Investment Bank investment in Edinburgh, and assisting them in finding business premises for their headquarters in Atria One;
- Opening a new one door hub for business support and advice in the Council HQ at Waverley Court;
- Supporting two new business incubators: the Creative Exchange in Leith and Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh Park; and
- Building on the success of the Edinburgh Guarantee. Through a coalition of over 200 employers we have created 1100 opportunities for young people in the city. Edinburgh has moved from having the poorest employment record for school leavers in Scotland to an employment rate of nearly 90% - above the Scotland average.

You can read track the progress of the strategy for jobs, and find out how you can contribute at

SCDI-Forum14-The Crown Estate-150X150   The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business created by Parliament to make sure that the land and property they manage are sustainably worked, developed and enjoyed to deliver the best value over the long term.  The business manages the seabed, around half the coastline, rural estates, Windsor Park and Regent St. All annual revenue profit is paid to UK Government.  Working with public, private and third sector partners is critical to how The Crown Estate does business. In Scotland, their focus is investing in and supporting offshore renewables, carbon capture and storage, aquaculture, and coastal & rural tourism.  The Crown Estate consistently outperforms against industry benchmarks, and in 2013 their first integrated report showed how they create value (in the short and long term) and have successfully embedded sustainability in the business.

SCDI-Forum14-IBM-150X150   IBM

IBM is a globally integrated enterprise operating in over 170 countries. Today IBM UK has around 20,000 employees, bringing innovative solutions to a diverse client base to help solve some of their toughest business challenges. In addition to being the world's largest IT and consulting services company, IBM is a global business and technology leader, innovating in research and development to shape the future of society at large. IBM's prized research, development and technical talent around the world partner with governments, corporations, thinkers and doers on ground breaking real world problems to help make the world work better and build a smarter planet.

SCDI-Forum14-RBS-150X150   The Royal Bank Of Scotland 
SCDI-Forum14-ScottishGas-150X150   Scottish Gas 

Shell U.K. Limited

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies. We seek to help meet global energy demand in a responsible way. Our presence in the UK, including Scotland, is important to our global business. We directly employ about 8,000 people in the UK. Our upstream business operates out of Aberdeen. In conjunction with its co-venturers, Shell operates around 12% of the UK’s production of oil and gas.



Siemens was established in the United Kingdom 170 years ago and now employs 13,760 people in the UK. Last year’s revenues were £3.36 billion*. As the world’s largest engineering company, Siemens provides innovative solutions to help tackle the world’s major challenges across the key sectors of energy, industry, infrastructure & cities and healthcare. Siemens has offices and factories throughout the UK, with its headquarters in Frimley, Surrey. The company’s global headquarters is in Munich, Germany. 
* Data includes intercompany revenue. Data may not be comparable with revenue reported in annual or interim reports 


Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national skills body, supporting individuals and employers to get the skills they need to succeed and grow.  Working closely with partners at a local and national level, we are:

  • transforming services to help people get jobs and manage their careers
  • investing in training provision which meets the needs of individuals and industry
  • aligning our support with employers’ growth ambitions.

By driving efficiency and creating opportunity throughout the skills cycle, SDS contributes to the development of Scotland’s society and economy.


Associate Partners

SCDI-Forum14-Pulsant-150X150   SCDI-Forum14-The BIG Partnership-150X150




Event Blog

Forum Maintains Focus On The Economy

Ross Martin, Chief Executive, SCDI

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Since its creation in 1931, SCDI has played a leading role as Scotland's economic voice holding true to our founding remit, forged in the furnace of that economic depression - "to examine and consider impartially the industrial, commercial and economic problems with which the country is faced" - to develop solutions to those challenges and to secure, where necessary, legislation to give effect to any policy changes we may recommend.

A glance at our remodelled website shows how we are continuing to live up to those weighty expectations placed upon us, through our renewed commitment of "Engaging Civic Scotland - Driving Economic Growth". With the Forum as an annual anchor, providing continuity through the years, we are developing a range of activities and events to maintain our position at the forefront of the economic debate, also building on our recent event marking the Governor of the Bank of England's first official visit to Scotland.

SCDI is a unique organisation which brings together all sections of the economy, from across the private sector, the public sector and the emerging social economy too, providing an integrated insight into the challenges and opportunities which Scotland faces in a period of unprecedented global change. Indeed, it has been said that if one wishes to take the temperature of the Scottish economy then simply asking our membership is probably the best way to do just that!

Another area of interesting activity is our continuing support for the Scottish Cities Alliance, and our assistance in developing its strategic direction, which is now bearing fruit with the publication of a ground-breaking £6bn integrated infrastructure investment plan. This aggregation of the seven City Investment Plans provides not only a pipeline for the Scottish Cities Alliance's engagement with potential funders but also the context against which to develop SCDI's planned Inter-City work, with an emphasis on the development of modern, fit for purpose connectivity.

This relentless focus on the economy demonstrates how SCDI seeks to balance our strong desire to support short-term economic change, particularly that required in challenging macro economic circumstances with the resultant fiscal consolidation measures of these past few years, with the national need to create a more resilient, flexible and sustainable economy for the long term.

This year's SCDI Forum has been designed to strike this balance, looking "Beyond the Horizon" to discuss three key characteristics of a future Scottish economy, whilst also being live to ideas on "Innovation, Skills and Infrastructure" which may create short term economic gain. Discussion of these three themes will be bookended by two keynote presentations, which both promise to provide a strong and stimulating framework for our deliberations, with Diane Coyle and Matthew Taylor very well positioned to set and seal the tone.

The various other sessions and activities throughout the Forum will provide a solid basis for detailed discussion of these three key characteristics of a Future Scotland, regardless of the result of the Referendum on September 18th, and thereby a springboard for a refresh of these papers in preparation for the elections to come, which will determine the shape and direction of government for this next period. On the issue of the Referendum, we will hear from the First Minister and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, representing either side of the debate, but they will also wish to discuss their longer term visions for the economy, tackling the structural challenges which require attention regardless of the constitutional choice which we shall all make come September.

So come and join in the debate, make your points, or have them made for you, in what is sure to be another engaging event helping, as ever, to set the context for our continuing focus on the economy and our relentless pursuit of the resilient and flexible growth required to support a Future Scotland of which we can all be proud.  


Skills, Training, Development - And A Smart, Successful Scotland

Kevin Roxburgh, Managing Director, Scottish Gas

Thursday 24 April 2014

SCDI-Forum14-ScottishGas-150X150Like many of you I suspect, I am very much looking forward to attending and indeed addressing SCDI's annual Forum in early May. I've come to recognise through participation in recent years what a valuable event this is in terms of exchanging ideas and best practice between businesses operating in different areas and with other membership organisations. We tend to be so busy running our own businesses that we can too easily forget the value of a fresh perspective offered by colleagues in other fields. And SCDI's annual Forum is in my view one of the best occasions for re-acquainting ourselves with this fact. This year, to paraphrase the Chinese curse 'we live in especially interesting times' and I look forward to the opportunity to speak directly with as many of you as possible about what your own priorities are as we approach the Independence vote and beyond.

For myself, I shall be using my own slot at the Forum to address an issue which is particularly close to my own heart - that of skills and the value of training and development, especially of our young people. Without delving too much into what I want to say at the Forum itself, training and development is something on which Scottish Gas has a very strong record indeed. It is an issue to which we attach huge significance as a business and to which we dedicate time and resource. However, this dedication goes beyond the walls of our own sites. We are also out working in communities around our sites, in schools and elsewhere, extolling the virtues of skills training as a means towards a smart, successful Scotland. For me, therefore - irrespective of the outcome of the vote in September of this year - we should not let the big constitutional issues of our day get in the way of a sensible debate about the micro issues and in this case a well informed and rational debate about how we as a business community work alongside politicians and other enabling organisations to put Scotland on the map for the right reasons. And there could be no more 'right' a reason in my view than restoring Scotland to its former position as a power house of skills and education.

I look forward to taking up this debate further with you all in Edinburgh at the Forum.


What Will We Make Of This Moment?

Stephen Leonard, General Manager, Worldwide Sales, Systems & Technology Group, IBM

Wednesday 16 April 2014

SCDI-Forum14-IBM-150X150This is an incredible moment for Scotland - an opportunity to innovate, transform and grow, seizing the power of three fundamental shifts happening in the world:

Data is becoming the world's new natural resource. 

The emergence of cloud computing is transforming IT and business processes into digital services.

Social, mobile and unprecedented access to data is changing how individuals are understood and engaged.

It's about a vision for a Smarter Planet, where together we make the world work better, using collaborative ways to deal with the explosion of data and leveraging new trends in IT with cloud and open approaches.

This shared vision is already transforming the world. Clients in a diverse set of industries around the world are partnering with IBM, changing the way people, organisations, and entire industries approach what they do.

  • Doctors are making better diagnosis and treatment decisions by capturing and making sense of complex patient and medical data. And they are sharing breakthrough findings instantly with other doctors around the world via the cloud.
  • Cities are using analytics to get a bird's eye view of the different modes of transport and avoid gridlock and manage situations better when accidents, bad weather and large-scale events occur.
  • Retailers are providing customers with a personalised shopping experience via their mobile devices - sending them instant product details and promotions as they move through the store or shop online.
  • Banks can correlate real-time and historical account activity to spot abnormal user and application behaviour, stop suspicious transactions, and uncover fraud.
  • Consumers are using Watson as a cloud service that allows them to ask questions directly from their smart phones and then receive quick responses back to help guide purchasing decisions and troubleshoot problems.
  • Workforces everywhere are using social tools to stay connected, think up new ideas, develop new expertise and grow their careers.

Since 2008, we have been working with companies, cities and communities in Scotland and around the world to build a smarter planet. We've seen enormous advances, as leaders have begun using the vast supply of big data to transform their enterprises and institutions through analytics, mobile technology, social business, Watson, and cloud.

With these three powerful forces converging - data, cloud and new forms of engagement - it's now our job as a collective to understand and talk about these changes happening in the Scotland, the actions we are taking to address them and, most importantly what we will make of this moment, as businesses, as individuals, as communities and as a nation?


A Successful Economy Grows The Skills Of Tomorrow

Jim Allan, Finance Director, City Building LLP

Thursday 10 April 2014

SCDI-Forum14-CityBuilding-150X150The Scottish construction industry is showing welcome signs of recovery after the difficult years of the economic downturn. Now our sector is watching the debate on the Scottish constitution with interest to gauge how it might affect our businesses and workforce. There is no doubt that the fiscal context of the independence debate is crucial to construction. Given our industry's sizable contribution to the Scottish economy, the built environment must be a focus for all sides of the debate.

A recent survey commissioned for Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) "signalled a strong overall performance for the UK construction sector, with sharp rises in activity and employment maintained. Although new business growth slipped to a six-month low, construction firms remain highly upbeat about the prospects for output over the year ahead."

The Construction Industry was hit hard by the financial crisis of 2007-09, with many well-known companies going out of business. City Building is proud of our record during that difficult time that we were able to rescue many craft apprentices from some of those businesses to ensure they were given the opportunity to finish their training and gain qualifications in their chosen trades. As a company we felt it was critical to the future of Scotland's economy to ensure we had the skills for tomorrow's workforce for any upturn in the economy.

At our Supported Manufacturing business, Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi), we employed redundant Remploy workers in our new window manufacturing division, taking advantage of the experience and skills of former fabricators to bring success to this new area of the business, and to pass on their skills to our new military veteran employees.

A common thread reiterated by all Parties is the need to build more houses whether private or affordable. If these words could be converted into actions then the resulting increase in confidence could completely transform the Construction sector.

It is important that whatever happens in the referendum on 18th September 2014 we look beyond the horizon and ensure that our politicians are taking the right decisions to allow the construction industry to grow and flourish and to help create the skilled workforce of tomorrow.


Infrastructure Investment Is Key To Unlocking Economic Growth

Cllr Andrew Burns, Leader, The City of Edinburgh Council

Monday 7 April 2014

SCDI-Forum14-TheCityOfEdinburghCouncil-150X150Delivering sustainable economic growth is vital to unlocking opportunities for all, and providing resources to deliver a fairer and more equal society.

Cities drive Scotland's economy
The Scottish Cities Alliance (SCA), formed in 2011, has set out as one of its most important objectives the development of new ways to fund infrastructure development. This is being driven by the need to achieve vital investment and economic growth.

City regions have the potential to lift economic performance and well-being at a national level. Competition for investment, labour and financial capital is now global, and it is increasingly cities that have the identity and critical mass needed to attract these resources.

Numerous commentators have highlighted the widening gap between the amount being invested in infrastructure and the investment needed to drive growth. With banks reconfiguring their lending patterns and increasing pressures on the public purse, there is a need, and indeed opportunity, for a new approach to funding these investments. The main challenge is a shortage of suitable infrastructure projects.

City Investment Plans
For the first time the cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Stirling), as part of the SCA, are working together to produce a set of coherent investment opportunities, outlined in City Investment Plans. The Plans identify the cities' priority short/medium term investment opportunities, with the value of the opportunities articulated in them being around £6bn.

Around 80% of the financing required to deliver these Plans will come from the private sector, but in many cases public funds are needed to provide a flexible source of capital to unlock these wider funds. However, pressure on the public purse is considerable and a radically different approach is required by the cities. This will include making better use of existing funds and opening up new sources of funding.

The SCA recognises the need for an innovative approach and is working across local and national governments to identify new investment models. By adopting a more co-ordinated approach to developing project pipelines, the cities hope to take advantage of potential scale and portfolio benefits to attract a wider investor audience.

Please click here to read more on the City Investment Plan Workstream session taking place at the SCDI Forum 2014.


Collaboration Key To Resilience, Sustainability & Success

Ronnie Quinn, The Crown Estate's lead on Energy & Infrastructure in Scotland

Tuesday 1 April 2014

SCDI-Forum14-The Crown Estate-150X150Beyond Horizons - it would be hard to find a more fitting theme for this year’s annual Forum.

With so much focus on short-term political events, it’s refreshing - as well as necessary - to look further ahead, examining the structural or systemic issues that industry and civic Scotland need to address in order to drive economic growth. And for individual companies, a strategy that reflects a holistic, long-term view - going beyond the P&L statement to look at other factors that impact risk and reputation - will see companies become more resilient, agile and sustainable.

At The Crown Estate, we start from the premise that commercial success is inextricably linked to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the partners, places and communities with which we work. Across the UK, we manage a £8.6bn portfolio including the seabed, around half the coastline, rural estates such as Windsor Park, and prime London real estate in Regent St and St James’s.

The nature of these assets - some  of which have national strategic value - combined with our remit of delivering long-term value as well as annual returns to UK Government (£252.6m in 2012/13), means that looking ‘beyond horizons’ is hardwired into how we operate. For example, in 2010 we committed £100m to strategic work in offshore renewables to addresses sector-wide problems and barriers. This commitment provided an early and important signal to the market, helping de-risk and attract subsequent investment from others. And as generation projects progress, returns from, and value of, seabed assets will benefit.

Long-term commercial success should be under-pinned by collaboration to maximise benefit for all. This guides our approach to business in renewables, coastal & rural tourism, aquaculture and retail.

Time and again we find that stronger relations and partnerships, be it at grassroots or Government level, make for a more resilient and sustainable business. Collaboration does not divide the spoils between partners, it creates more to go round.

So SCDI’s focus on skills, innovation and infrastructure is welcome. All three need a ‘beyond horizons’ approach based on partnership, and all three will benefit industry, civic Scotland, the UK as a whole. I and colleagues look forward to sharing ideas and moving the debate forward at the Forum in May.


Setting The Pace In Global Skills

Marion Beattie, Head of Employer Services, Skills Development Scotland

Wednesday 26 March 2014

SCDI-Forum14-SDS-150X150All the signs indicate that Scotland's economy is moving out of recession. Having the right skills in place to exploit the opportunities that recovery brings is more important than ever. Thriving, confident companies need equally motivated people if Scotland's ambitions for the future are to be achieved.

In the last year Skills Development Scotland really focused on understanding what employers are looking for from us to support them, and their people, in this environment.

Our new employer services team has worked with over 2,000 businesses covering all of Scotland and all sectors. Where there were gaps, we have introduced new services and funding arrangements. We have worked with other public bodies to make it easier for businesses to understand and access the support that they need when they need it. Of course there is more to be done - there always is - but in my recent discussions with employers I am struck by their optimism for the future.

This year has really come into its own. Launched in November 2012, the site has had more than 100,000 unique visitors. Our Skillsforce is a one stop shop for all skills-related information that a business might need. Based on feedback from businesses, we have made a number of enhancements to the site including a new, more user-friendly interface. We are also in the process of introducing industry-specific hubs designed to meet the particular needs of that sector.

Working with our partners in industry and the public sector, we have produced new Skills Investment Plans for Financial Services, ICT, Life Sciences and Engineering. These Skills Plans bring with them significant additional government investment to support that particular sector.

Some sectors require more focused support than others which is why we supported and managed the creation of Energy Skills Scotland. This body will help the Oil & Gas sector develop the required skills base to drive exploration and drilling for businesses in Scotland.

What next? If Scotland's businesses are to take their place on the world stage, they need world class skills to do so. Skills Development Scotland will continue to listen and focus on helping businesses develop those skills now and in the future.

If you'd like to know more about how Skills Development Scotland can support your business, visit or call T: 0800 783 6000.


Driving Scotland’s Innovation Action Plan

Gill Grassie, Partner in Intellectual Property & Technology at Brodies LLP

Tuesday 18 March 2014

SCDI-Forum14-Brodies LLP-150X150-2Brodies LLP is delighted to support this year's SCDI Annual Forum on the 1st and 2nd May, which will look beyond electoral cycles and address the long-term opportunities and challenges for the Scottish economy in a global context. Innovation with regard to capitalising on the dynamism and potential in our educational institutions, businesses and workforces; successful industrial strategy and market creation; and a greater emphasis on the ‘D’ in R&D will be the main themes explored.

At a recent conference run by the Alliance for IP, Michel Barnier (European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services) commented that it was his “firm belief that intellectual property is the backbone of a competitive European economy”. He added: “Thanks to IP, we create jobs and bring innovative products and services to consumers and companies.” Mr Barnier remarked that a recent study had shown that “nearly 40% of all economic activity in the EU was generated by IP-intensive industries, which is around 4.7 trillion Euros each year. More than a third of all jobs in Europe (77 million) depend either directly or indirectly on sectors that make intensive use of IP.”

At the same conference, Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, highlighted that IP provides the basis for £16 billion of annual investment in the UK economy.

Innovation needs to be encouraged and protected using IP rights such as patents, as it is key to driving growth, wealth and exports. Scotland’s academic institutions, businesses and workforce punch well above their weight and are recognised internationally for generating valuable new technology. Key sectors for this R&D include life sciences, energy (oil and gas and renewables), IT and optoelectronics. Scotland needs to prioritise and support intellectual property development as the lifeblood of its economy, both now and in the future, if it is to exploit fully its position on the global stage. When companies have confidence that their ideas will be protected, they are incentivised to pursue risky or ground-breaking advances which can add huge value to the economy.

One current example of how Scotland can start to get its IP game plan in order is its participation in the new streamlined Community / Unitary Patent system. This system will come into being over the next few years and apply to all 25 EU member states, revolutionising the existing patent systems in these countries. Trumpeted as offering huge costs savings for patentees on an EU-wide basis, it is intended to effectively supercede the existing EU patent systems entirely over the next decade. Underpinning the entire regime will be a brand new Unitary Patent Court (UPC) system. Within this new system each member state is entitled to apply for up to four local division courts, depending on the number of past patent cases handled by its courts. The UK is likely to qualify to have all four such courts. Under the current Patent systems, Scotland’s local Court of Session handles all patent disputes in Scotland and affords local established expert means to enforce and defend patent rights. However, no local division of the UPC is as yet secured for Scotland, with serious implications for its IP-rich sectors.

Failure to maintain a dedicated patent court in Scotland risks damaging businesses that rely on patents to protect valuable technologies and innovation or secure investment. The consequence is that such companies will be forced to litigate in London or elsewhere in Europe - with the additional cost, time and uncertainty that this would involve. It is important for both investors and businesses in Scotland to have continued local access to justice. A robust Scottish legal framework for IP supports innovation and encourages inward investment by overseas investors. Having a local UPC court will also enhance the attractiveness of Scotland as a forum for resolving patent disputes and create a hub to boost the economy. Without one there is a real risk that the specialist skills of Scottish-based IP/patent judges and lawyers will be eroded - to the detriment of the local innovative businesses concerned.

The Scottish Law Society has called for one of these local divisional courts to be based in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. There have been promising signs in that the UK Government has recently said that it will look favourably at any proposal to site such a court where there is business need and it is very possible that there could be one in Scotland. It has also given assurance that it will consult with the Scottish Government and court services on this. However, as yet there are no guarantees. This initiative needs to be driven forward as part of any overall Scottish infrastructure for attracting investment and accelerating delivery to provide competitive, world-class internal and external connectivity and to move R&D into the development and commercialisation stage, to the long-term benefit of Scotland’s economy.


Beyond Horizons

Ross Martin, Chief Executive, SCDI

Friday 14 March 2014

The 1st May is a date with significant historical importance here, e.g. marking the end of the Wars of Independence in 1328 with the recognition by the Kingdom of England of an Independent Kingdom of Scotland and then, as the wheels of history turned, their integration as part of the emerging United Kingdom, by the signing of the Act of Union in 1707. Later this year, we will see the wheels turn again - in whichever direction we Scots decide they should go - but in the meantime, our focus at the SCDI Forum 2014, being held on that auspicious date, will be the current and future state of the Scottish economy.

As we look beyond the immediate political horizons of the Independence Referendum and the forthcoming General Elections at the European, UK and Scottish levels it is instructional to restate SCDI's founding mission, recently re-captured in six simple words - Engaging Civic Scotland: Driving Economic Growth. Our mission has always been, and remains even more important in the heat of the battle of the Independence campaign, to develop the strength and resilience of the Scottish economy.

Whatever the outcome of September 18th, our focus at SCDI must therefore remain the strength and resilience of the Scottish economy - and this year's Forum - Scotland: Beyond The Horizon, being held in Edinburgh on the 1st & 2nd May, provides a timely opportunity for discussion and debate about what its key characteristics must be. Innovation, skills and infrastructure are surely three of the key characteristics of any modern economy and our Forum 2014 will be discussing how we may best develop each of these.

We shall maintain that focus on the economy with a determination and skill to create the conditions in which innovation will flourish; an economy where macroeconomic and fiscal stimuli, the myriad opportunities of the vital energy sector, and Scotland’s place on the European and indeed international stage have to be key considerations in us all shaping and developing Scotland’s future. On this journey, there are many matters to be examined, including - Are we developing the skills which a modern economy requires? Is infrastructure investment the best foundation for economic growth, as the Governor of the Bank of England suggested at our session in January? Why not take some time out from the Referendum debate to come along and discuss these key characteristics with a wide cross-section of the SCDI membership?

Leading off our Forum 2014 discussions this year will be Diane Coyle OBE, the widely respected and leading economist specialising in the economic and social effects of new technologies and globalisation. Her economics consultancy, Enlightenment Economics, has particular expertise in long-term strategic issues, including innovation systems, competition policy, emerging markets, and corporate governance and institutional reforms, with clients including global corporations, financial institutions, and international agencies. Diane has a PhD in Economics from Harvard University; is a visiting research associate at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise & the Environment; Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust; and becomes Professor of Economics at Manchester University come September. At Forum, Diane will explain the key ingredients for, and how best to measure, success in the 21st century global economy, setting the context for our discussions on how Scotland may best meet these three long-term challenges if our economy is to emerge stronger and more resilient from what has been the longest period of downward pressure since SCDI's creation during the Great Depression.

So this May 1st and 2nd at our Forum, let's look forward and outwards, as well as backwards and inwards, by doing what SCDI does best - formulating positive policy responses to the great economic challenges of our time, and persuading those people we collectively empower to make decisions to take the right ones for a strong and stable future Scotland.