Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – Inspiring FinTech

Inspiring is one of the most frequent words I have used over this last fortnight to describe the wide ranging conversations with people who are making things happen in the Fintech world.

Inspiring because their ideas that are driving innovation across Scotland are in themselves fuelling even more creativity and the possibility of additional new initiatives.

Inspiring Enterprise

A meeting in Glasgow with the inspirational and pioneering John McHugh to hear about the exciting plans for Gigly on Monday evening left me buzzing with excitement. It wasn’t caffeine that kept me from sleeping that night!
John and his team are building a terrific enterprise to improve people’s engagement with money in this rapidly changing world of technology and employment which presents so many opportunities.
What is truly inspiring for me is that I am being given the opportunity to see a number of exciting FinTech enterprises on a similar such mission and connect them with each other to collaborate.
My conversations this last two weeks with Loral Quinn of Sustainably and then Jude Cook and the team at ShareIn very much reinforced this. Their insight and ideas on the FinTech ecosystem are hugely valuable in considering how we support their continued progress.
Then add to this the opportunity to hear Stewart Lunn at Lending Crowd and James Varga at The ID.Co further demonstrated to me that we have something very much happening in Scotland around Fintech to build upon.

Inspiring Talent

Some of our innovative enterprises in Scotland have been demonstrating their inspirational performance for a good number of years, talking with Lorraine Straiton, Commercial Director at FNZ and their twelve year journey is a good example.

The chat with Lorraine was very much on the skills and talent required to help financial and technology enterprises strive forward to create sustainable and inclusive growth.

This is where FinTech Scotland’s ‘bridge’ role with the universities across Scotland is going to be crucial in helping to ensure we have a diversity of talent and expertise to take forward the thriving and innovative ecosystem

So, progressing the development of specific Fintech leadership programmes with Douglas Graham, Frances Green and other key colleagues at the University of Edinburgh is going to be a crucial focus in the coming months.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with the exciting academic teams at Stirling and Strathclyde in the coming weeks to hear how we can also support their valuable work in developing FinTech talent.

To add to this, the brilliant Steve Tigar, CEO of Money Dashboard shared with me some great ideas of how experienced people within some of our larger financial institutions could play an active role with emerging FinTech enterprises. We will look to progress this.

Collaboration to build inspiring talent was also very much on the agenda when catching up with the fantastic Gillian Docherty and Jude McCorry of DataLab

last week, and with the risk of embarrassing them both, they are very much role models to me on how to inspire talent and put it into action.


Inspiring Leaders

On the subject of inspiring leaders, this is an imperative across the whole ecosystem to drive collaborative actions in the FinTech ecosystem.

A great example of inspiring leadership was meeting Graham Smith, from Glasgow City Council this week to talk about his role at Tontine, the incubator and accelerator hub.

My colleague Mickael Paris had the opportunity last week to catch up with the inspirational Steven Morris to hear about how he is working with Stirling Council to establish a digital hub with the support of a new EIS growth fund. Please read more on this terrific initiative

Recent days have also involved conversations with Paul Lawrence of Edinburgh City Council and then with Douglas and Lindsay at PWC, all of whom are quietly but powerfully enabling actions to help a thriving fintech ecosystem.

There is a great deal of inspiring leadership such as by those mentioned that goes on behind the scenes and from people in many different roles that is often underestimated.

This was very evident to me when sharing the emerging plans for Fintech Scotland with the Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International teams this week. The wintry journey through the snow to Glasgow was more than worth it and I came away enthused on how we can drive new innovations through collaboation.

Inspiring Meet Up

Thursday was due to be my first FinTech Practitioners Forum and the opportunity to hear from thirty or so entrepreneurs and innovators but unfortunately the blizzard conditions meant it turned more into an inspiring meet up of four.

I was joined at Codebase by Stuart from Wallet Services, Stuart from Comcarde and Stewart from Allatus Unity for a very insightful conversation on what needs to be done to drive better collaboration and business growth.

From my point of view, it was more than worthwhile to brave the wintry conditions and be part of the discussion as well as enjoy the coffee treat that Stewart Pitt brought in to warm us up. Thanks guys for joining me even if the meet up was cut a little bit short so I could go to dentist and get a replacement tooth!!

Inspiring at Scale

One of the key objectives of Fintech Scotland is to facilitate productive collaborations across the Fintech eco systems, particularly in bringing together developing Fintech enterprises and established firms.

I have been encouraged by the opportunities on how we can do this following very constructive discussions with organisations such as IBM, Atos, Sopra Steria who have the capabilities and scale to help Scotland develop innovative environments to help small and large firms grow.

Alongside this, my meetings with global professional services players such as Deloitte, EY and Accenture gave me some very helpful insight on how we could learn from others around the world to develop fintech in Scotland

Innovation can be done at scale over time, as mentioned earlier FNZ have demonstrated this in Scotland and over a longer period and also the global player NCR with its important Scotland presence showed me how innovation through technology is an ongoing journey, or should I say an endless marathon!

Inspiring Running

Talking of marathons, it is due to be my first running race of 2018 this weekend, a half marathon round the Meadows in Edinburgh organised by the University’s students. I’m hoping the snow will have cleared to some extent to allow a safe and inspiring run!!

This will be the first of eight races leading up to the Edinburgh marathon in May and I am hoping to build up the pace over this coming months, I guess just like my ambition for the fintech pace in Scotland.

The next four weeks is going to be about starting to prioritise where the focus of activity and pace with stakeholders from across the ecosystem. More on that to come

Keep warm and keep inspiring!