Interface board members group photo

Interface has welcomed five new strategic board members from industry, the college sector and the newly formed UK government innovation organisation UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The new members are:

Stuart Bain, CEO, Design LED Products Ltd;

Brian Brown, Director of ARMED (Early Intervention & Prevention Solutions), HAS Technology Group;

Liz Connolly, Vice Principal, Corporate Development and Innovation, West College Scotland;

Dr Colin Cooper, Head of Business Networks, Innovate UK;

Yekemi Otaru, Managing Director and founder, YO! Marketing.

Three of the new board members are from companies which have been supported by Interface, which helps businesses connect with academic expertise to create or develop new products, services or processes.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Chair of the Interface Strategic Board, said:

“The number and calibre of applications that were received for the board positions are testimony to the strength of Interface’s reputation for supporting businesses, academia and innovation in Scotland.

“I am delighted to welcome the five new board members, who bring a breadth of experience to help advise and shape Interface’s ambition to create impact for society and the Scottish economy.

“We have ambitious plans for the next 5 years to increase business-academic collaborations and support the development of long-term partnerships to bring even greater benefits to Scotland’s economy.”

Stuart Bain, CEO of Design LED Products Ltd, said:

“I am passionate about Scotland, innovation, business and education, and as someone who has engaged successfully with Interface on several occasions in different businesses as a client, I bring international strategic insight, creativity and ‘the voice of the customer’ to the Interface Strategic Board.” 

More information about the Interface Strategic Board can be found here.

Further information:

Stuart Bain
Stuart Bain is the CEO of Design LED Products Ltd, an innovative Scottish business that invents, patent protects and commercialises exciting LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology in the international lighting industry. At Design LED he has established a strong team and a state-of-the-art design, development and prototyping centre, supporting three outsourced manufacturing facilities in the UK and China. Volume products in the home sector commenced in 2017 and the company is now focussed on the automotive and built environment markets where Stuart has a particular interest in autonomous vehicle design and utilising the “ubiquity of light “as a carrier for multiple IoT applications. 
In the past few years, Stuart has raised significant funding and investment from a variety of sources including seed funding from Angel syndicates and Corporate Venture capital from companies such as Siemens, OSRAM and most recently IKEA.
Prior to Design LED Stuart has held a variety of senior strategic and operational leadership positions helping grow Scottish businesses on an international stage in the printing, electronics and automotive industries. Stuart has lived and worked extensively in Europe, Eastern Europe the United States and China and is now based in Edinburgh.

Brian Brown
Brian Brown is a Director of the HAS Technology Group where he has been employed since 2009.  Brian’s current role is as the Director for ARMED (Advanced Risk Monitoring for Early Detection).  Previously to this Brian was employed in other roles within the HAS Technology group including Business Development Manager and more recently, as the Director of Scotland.
The ARMED solution combines pioneering predictive analytics modelling, (developed in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University) with innovative wearable technology and Health and Social Care data.  ARMED helps identify and predict individuals at escalating risk in particular to those at risk of falling, as well as indicating other frailty indicators. This allows for timely intervention and better self-management in the comfort of the individual’s home, avoiding expensive hospital stays.  The growing ageing demographics of individuals both UK and wider across the world is now leading to the need for solutions to predict risk at an earlier stage.
A vastly experienced manager, Brian has a depth of background in social work services managing local authority care at home/housing support services both from a direct operational basis and at a senior strategic level.  This involved the overall responsibility for both the internally delivered service as well as significant externally purchased services.  Brian’s move into the IT world still resonates with his social work background working as a consultant for 5 years prior to moving to HAS Technology Group. 
Having previously completed his BA and eMBA, Brian commenced Professional Doctorate studies in 2017 at Glasgow Caledonian University researching the behavioural changes interventions of individuals using digital tools as well as strategic change interventions of statutory services.
Having engaged with Interface services previously to link with academic partners as part of the research for the ARMED solution, Brian is delighted to join the Interface Strategic Board.  He hopes to bring positive enthusiasm and help promote interests of Scotland’s dynamic SME sector with a view to driving innovation against rising competition.

Liz Connolly
Liz Connolly is Vice Principal, Corporate Development and Innovation at West College Scotland, where she has executive level responsibility for Business Development, International, Technology and Innovation, Communications, Policy and Planning and On-line Distance Learning.
Liz has a background in economic development having spent 17 years with Scottish Enterprise.  During that time her roles included Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire and Operations Director for the West of Scotland.
Liz, who has a BA and MBA from Strathclyde University is also a Board member of Targeting Innovation.

Dr Colin Cooper
Colin Cooper is Head of Business Networks at Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, and has worked in the private and public sectors, and immediately prior to his current role in Knowledge Exchange with the University of Bristol Chemistry Department. 
He is part of the Strategic Board for the Konfer Platform being developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business and has an eclectic mix of commercial experience from large corporate experience with Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods/formerly Cadbury), Innovation consultancy (with an Open Innovation start-up company), and various environmental consultancy roles. Colin began his career as an academic research fellow for a number of years as well as working on industry-funded projects for different University Departments. 
He brings with him substantial experience in senior research and innovation management within business and extensive knowledge of research, knowledge exchange and enterprise development and management in business to business and business to research collaborations.

Yekemi Otaru
Yekemi Otaru is the Managing Director & Founder of YO! Marketing Limited, a marketing consultancy focused on delivering content marketing services to technical sectors. Yekemi has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Schlumberger and GE. Her career started in petroleum engineering before she moved into strategy and marketing roles in 2011. In 2016, Yekemi was named one of 40 under 40 business innovators by Scottish Business News. 
As part of her innovative journey, Yekemi collaborated with Abertay University, Dundee to develop a prototype machine learning model for predicting the outcomes of marketing activities. The prototype forms part of the suite of marketing tools developed by YO! Marketing Limited. Yekemi is a best-selling author in social networks. She holds an MBA (Distinction), an MSc in Petroleum Engineering and a BEng in Chemical Engineering. 

For more information please contact:
Suzy Powell, PR and Communications, Interface.
Tel:0131 603 6912
Email: suzy.powell@interface-online.org.uk

Image: From left to right: Brian Brown, Yekemi Otaru, Liz Connolly, Stuart Bain and Dr Colin Cooper