A public sector digital technologies conference attracted 350 delegates to its first-ever national event designed to inform top-level government policy.

DigitalScotland 2018, organised by FutureScot, took place at Strathclyde University’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) in Glasgow on Thursday, featuring some of the leading tech speakers in the UK.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation, a UK network supporting tech pioneers, was among keynote speakers, along with a former Uber General Manager, Chris Yiu, who is now Senior Policy Fellow for Technology at The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Colin Cook, Director Digital at The Scottish Government and Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer at Scottish Local Government Digital Office and Polly Purvis OBE, Chief Executive of ScotlandIS, the trade body for the technology industry in Scotland, also took part.

Cook said: “This has been a fantastic event and a great showcase for digital technology in Scotland; the quality of the debate was of the highest level, which has been informed by a series of nationwide events which have taken place in the lead-up to today. It is very encouraging to see the public sector galvanised by the digital transformation agenda and so many great examples of private and public sector joint working.”

The event began with Chris Yiu’s presentation, ‘harnessing technology for the benefit of society’, followed by a panel discussion between Cook, Wallace, Purvis and Cat Leaver, who is due to step into the role of Project Director of a new digitally-focused venture called ‘Brand Scotland’, which is supported by key agencies including Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scotish Enterprise.

Around 350 delegates gathered for the DigitalScotland 2018 event at the TIC in Glasgow

Cook added: “We recognise that we have got a lot further to go to achieve the ambitions that this country has, which is to be a world-class digital nation. But I hope what this kind of event does is to see the genesis of that. No government and no part of government believes that we can achieve the kind of transformational change that we need to achieve on its own. We recognise that from a policy point of view and a delivery of services point of view those parts of government need to work together on common standards and common programmes of work.”

Cook added that government cannot embed digital transformation without the help of the private sector, and he welcomed the fact that the event featured exhibitors from some of the leading tech providers. He also highlighted the fact that government is now procuring services in a different way, through initiatives such as CivTech, which has seen the Digital Directorate collecting challenges from different government agencies and then inviting solutions architects from the private sector – particularly SMEs – to come in and try and solve them.

The morning Digital Transformation panel was followed by a series of ‘knowledge exchange masterclasses’ on Public Services, The Economy and Infrastructure. Afternoon sessions featured sessions on digital healthcare, urbanisation, blockhain, data and skills as well as contributions by commercial partners including Hitcachi, Vodafone and Arup.

The conference was the culmination of a series of ‘around Scotland’ Digital Cities events, which travelled across the nation to the seven main cities, focusing on efforts to grow the digital economy in those regions.

The event also reflects the ambition of VisitiScotland’s Business Events promotional campaign ‘Project Legends’, which showcases Scotland’s high-growth economic sectors such as digital technology.

For further information visit www.digitalscotland18.com and www.futurescotevents.com

Speakers at the event included:

  • Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer, Digital Office of Scottish Local Government
  • Polly Purvis, Chief Executive, ScotlandIS
  • Melinda Matthews Clarkson, Chief Executive, CodeClan
  • Keith McDevitt, Cyber Resilience Integrator, Scottish Government
  • Mandy Haeburn-Little, Chief Executive, Scottish Business Resilience Centre
  • Cat Macaulay, Head of User Research and Services Design, Scottish Government
  • Stephen Ingledew, Chief Executive, FinTech Scotland
  • Mark Bevan, Chief Executive, SCDI
  • Gerry McCusker, Chair, BIMA Scotland
  • Brendan Dick, MD BT Regions / Director, BT Scotland
  • Steve Turner, Digital Cities Lead, Arup
  • Mark Bouldin, Social Innovation, EMEA, Hitachi;
  • Alexander Holt, Head of CivTech, Scottish Government
  • Professor Charlie Jeffrey, Vice Principal, Edinburgh University
  • Professor George Crooks, CEO, Digital Health Institute
  • Donald McLaughlin, Chair, Scotland’s Digital Technologies Skills Group
  • Anne Moises, Chief Information Officer, Scottish Government
  • Richard Gunson, Director, Gnos-tec
  • Margaret Moore, Head of Regional Government, Sopra Steria
  • Maggie Morrison, Vice President, Public Sector, CGI
  • Andy Grayland, Chief Information Security Officer, Digital Office of Scottish Local Government
  • Cat Macaulay, Head of User Research and Services Design, Scottish Government
  • Leah Lockhart, Engagement Consultant
  • Alan Johnston, Head of Digital Connectivity, Economy and Participation, Scottish Government
  • Darren Kilburn, Principal Consultant, FarrPoint
  • Michelle Brogan, Home and Mobile Health Monitoring lead, NHS24
  • Hazel Archer, Video Conference and Attend Anywhere Lead, NHS24
  • Liza McLean, Head of eHealth Strategy and Policy, Scottish Government
  • Roger Halliday, Chief Statistician and Data Officer, Scottish Government
  • Jenny O’Hagan, Head of Service Development, Development & Regeneration Services, Glasgow City Council
  • John Wilson, CEO, Ajenta
  • Andrew Smithsimmons, Digital Health Cognitive-behavioural Psychotherapy Therapist, IESO
  • Carol Sinclair, Associate Director in Public Health & Intelligence, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Mike MacDonald, Head of Digital & Innovation, Capita
  • Ian Dove, Director, Health Call Solutions
  • Christopher Wroath, Digital Director, NHS Education
  • Kirsten Urquhart, Digital & Smart-Tech Director, Young Scot
  • Joshua Ryan-Saha, Skills Manager, The Data Lab
  • Peter Ferry, Founder and Commercial Director, Wallet.Services
  • Dr Hannah Rudman, Strategic Transformation Director, Wallet.Services