Better Directors, Better Business and a Better Economy


IoD Scotland Annual Conference 2017

Thursday 2 & Friday 3 November 2017

Preparing for the Future : Creativity, Adaptability & Innovation

The IoD Scotland Annual Conference returned to Gleneagles on 2 & 3 November 2017 and delegates had the opportunity to hear from a range of world-class speakers.

Thursday’s leadership lecture was delivered by the biologist and academic Professor Dame Anne Glover DBE. Recently announced as the next President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Anne described her career and her passion for communicating science: “Science is the most creative thing you can do… it is an international language.” She highlighted the benefits of closer working relationships between business and academia, as businesses need to innovate in order to thrive, and academia can support them in this: “Research & Development is not a luxury – it is a necessity.” Having just flown in from a trip to Africa where she is involved with a charitable organisation, Anne described to the host of the session, Andy Lothian, her desire to see a fairer world, where there was more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity, and the role science can play in helping to achieve this.

Thursday’s workshops offered delegates challenging topics: Nick Kuenssberg OBE and Thomas Gillan of Social Investment Scotland explored Is This Post-Modern Capitalism? Russell Dalgleish of Exolta Capital Partners helped participants determine Do I Need to Develop my Business Outside Scotland? Meanwhile, Dr David Steinberg of Reykjavik Sky Consulting guided delegates in Mastering the Art of Strategic Questioning.

Friday’s first two keynote speakers – Philip Long, Director of the V&A Dundee and Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar – urged all organisations to recognise the value of design as a way of creating business opportunities. Keynote speeches by the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy, CEO of Purple, Mike Adams OBE, and Ian Ritchie CBE stimulated debate around the conference theme Preparing for the Future: Creativity, Adaptability & Innovation. Delegates had a refreshing presentation from the joint winners of the Young Enterprise Scotland award, Chloe Fairman and Taylor Henderson.

The IoD Scotland Forum in association with The Times Scotland, chaired by Times columnist Kenny Farquharson, sparked lively discussion among panel members Joanne Casey of Mactaggart & Mickel; Chair of IoD Scotland, Professor Susan Deacon CBE; Dr Graeme Roy of the Fraser of Allander Institute; and tech entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl. Chris challenged the creeping risk-averse culture that threatens creativity, instead calling for the traditional risk model to be ditched in favour of embracing risk management.

New for this year was the Raising Finance session which explored the funding options available to organisations looking for investment. Raymond O’Hare chaired the panel, which included Fraser Lusty, Equity Gap; Evelyn McDonald, Scottish EDGE; Darrin Nightingale, Social Investment Scotland; and Ian Ritchie CBE.

IoD Scotland is grateful to its sponsors Diligent, Skills Development Scotland and Vistage International (UK) Ltd who provided three well-attended workshops on Cybersecurity, Work-Based Learning and Leadership. Close Brothers, Flanders Investment and Trade of the Embassy of Belgium and the Officers Association Scotland made an interesting exhibition area during the networking breaks.

After a drinks reception sponsored by Gleneagles, David Watt, Executive Director of IoD Scotland, welcomed guests to Friday’s black-tie dinner. Edith Forrest, Advocate, was the after-dinner speaker. Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity is very grateful for the £1,500 + gift aid raised during the raffle prize draw.

The Conference returns to Gleneagles on 1 & 2 November 2018 – we hope to see you there!

Photographs from the 2017 conference can be viewed here >

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IoD Scotland has branches across all of Scotland giving you the opportunity to see what’s on in your area over the coming months.

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