Looking back to look forward

16th March 2017

The weeks may have flown by since the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards at Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre in Gogarburn on 21st February, but for me the buzz and excitement of the day lingers on.

Emerging themes included looking outwards beyond Scotland to foresight trends in emerging markets and instilling a sense of confidence in all we can and will achieve.

I am still trying to visualise the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing with an 80,000+ audience – with Brigadier David Allfrey’s vision and passion we know that anything is possible. Common to all our company speakers during the innovation sessions was a clear sense of purpose; to make sure that their ideas underpinned by innovation lead to invoices. But fundamental to success was the de-risking of the opportunity through collaboration with academic partners thereby gaining a greater understanding of the art of the possible.

The panel discussions were wide ranging outlining how universities have made significant improvements to enhance external relationships with businesses and instilling confidence in our young graduates as they make their way in the world of work.  And success was celebrated with our five worthy award winners – the ones to watch in the future of Scottish knowledge exchange.

Finally, to return to the inspirational Brigadier David Allfrey’s keynote address which will linger long in my memory.

Every organisation, including Interface, must look ahead with confidence to the “grand strategic” vision of 10-25 years.  It is all too easy to stay in the zone of tactical challenges of the “here and now”.  To boldly lift up our heads and look ahead and dream of the ten year vision takes confidence, self-belief and innovation.  We must find the planning time do the things we think we cannot do and embrace this concept of an “engine of ideas” emerging from all team members.

And who knows what will be possible once the best ideas are turned into something amazing!

See highlights from the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2017 on Storify.

Orla Kelly, Knowledge Exchange Manager at University of Dundee, attended the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards and wrote about the importance of networking.