Ideas to transform Scotland

There is so much exciting activity happening in Scotland at the moment that producing a compilation of ideas is a daunting prospect. Scotland has blazed a trail in radical transformation of its politics, its society and its public policy. And Scotland’s new confidence about its ability to change itself and the way it does things makes it a perfect environment for a discussion about the best experience from the rest of the world – and indeed from Scotland.

This Ideas Bank is, for Nesta, the start of our contribution to that discussion. We hope that it prompts debate, action and healthy criticism of the ideas we’ve drawn together. From harnessing the creative economy to deploying the digital tools available to us to involve more people in our decision making the opportunities are enormous.

Possibly the greatest opportunity of our era is that offered by data. Year-on-year our ability to collate and analyse data increases. The opportunities are massive, especially in areas like health where we can use big data to identify who is likely to become ill, to develop treatments for those illnesses and to manage treatment. But it requires a revolution in how we deal with personal data. We need to put people in charge of their data. The first country to do this will unlock huge advantages in the design and delivery of public services. And if we do that we have the opportunity of a new Scottish Renaissance in Data.

Possibly the greatest challenge of our era is the need for clean energy sources, and to end climate change. Scotland has huge opportunities in the energy economy, but also huge challenges. We must realise the potential in community-owned renewables. But we must also diversify the economy by focusing on the creative industries. In places like Dundee there are huge opportunities to develop creative clusters around the video games industry. With better measurement we can understand the contribution made by the creative economy and we can better support its successes.

We have great opportunities, we have huge challenges. And we have the democratic energy to tackle those opportunities and challenges. Exciting times allow for radical change, and this Ideas Bank aims to spark a conversation that produces radical change. Change that can create a better nation in a better world. We look forward to joining you in a discussion, on a journey and in action to make that change happen. 


Peter McColl

Peter McColl

Peter McColl

Head of Policy for Scotland

Peter McColl led Nesta's policy and research work in Scotland.

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