Scotland CAN DO and Entrepreneurial Scotland

Strategy Development and Collective Impact

The need

Scotland has an abundance of support for entrepreneurs and businesses. It is however a fragmented landscape, with clutter in some areas, gaps in others and the quality of the support varies widely. It is tricky to navigate and so many businesses forgo the support they could access as they fail to find it, get put off by the process or get sign-posted to the wrong thing.

Entrepreneurial Scotland was formed by a merger of two organisations in this ecosystem (The Saltire Foundation and Entrepreneurial Exchange) to try and take on this challenge; firstly by linking a peer-to peer network with talent development and world leading entrepreneurial education and then to draw the broader sector closer together through collective impact and a focus on Scale Up support.

James joined the team to conclude the merger, to establish a senior leadership team, to support strategy development and to lead the collective impact project (Scotland CAN DO). This included:

A review of the strategic landscape and engagement with key stakeholders

Support to CEO and Board through strategy development, drafting and design processes

Planning and delivery of Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Review, workstream 3 (Entrepreneurial ecosystems – Scotland CAN DO)

Establishment of the CAN DO Forum and the CAN DO Festival.

Ecosystem mapping and development of web based ecosystem directory and map.

Scotland CAN DO

Key innovations

Collective Impact

Central to the idea behind Scotland CAN DO is the idea of collective impact. Collective Impact, characterised by Stanford Social Innovation Review 2011’s Winter Edition, is a highly structured collaborative effort built on five key conditions:

James worked with stakeholders from across the ecosystem to agree a common agenda – based on the Entrepreneurial Scotland Strategy, to build forums to create trust between partners and to improve communication and to accelerate that process by focusing on a major activity – the establishment of CAN DO Fest. James also led the process to map the ecosystem and to radically improve navigation of it through the development of a web based portal.

Ecosystem Mapping

There has been numerous attempts to map the ecosystem ahead of this work but all had produced a printed product which time-bound the product from the outset. This process drew on that initial work and then tasked 5 summer interns to audit the information, identify other organisations supporting business across Scotland and build a data base.

The next phase of the project researched the market to define the search parameters and to improve the user experience. This also included a consultation phase, a and b testing leading to the launch of a Beta site for further testing and development –

Let’s make the world more sustainable.

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