I am not the first of the team here at Return To Scene to write about the palpable buzz of innovation here in the north east of Scotland. As a team we are pretty evangelistic about digitalisation and the role our wee corner of the world is playing in the digital transformation of industry globally.
Of course, as a small nation, Scotland has visibly punched above its weight in innovative terms for centuries.
Today, whether we are in the midst of the second digital age or entering the fourth industrial revolution, the intellectual climate and infrastructure here in Scotland is incredibly impressive and we have an exciting role to play
Indeed, for oil and gas, the old proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention” rings very true.
There is no doubt that the downturn has catalysed innovation in oil and gas. The industry was forced to fight for its very future, which meant tackling habitual ways, inherent inefficiencies and answering some difficult home truths.
Here in north east Scotland we are not just witnessing innovation but are sitting amid a unique hub of technological development, expertise and experience that has incredible value for our industry both here in the North Sea and globally.
For our business, proactivity in this climate is incredibly important, and to truly be part of this infrastructure of innovation, engagement and building relationships and networks within it is crucial. Through the boom and bust of the oil price in recent years, for example, Scottish Enterprise has remained a constant thread, supporting us in everything from R&D and innovation to market development, research and training.
We were early engagers with the OGTC in 2016 and have since embarked upon an exciting project which involves a coterie of Scottish innovators in software development, augmented reality and cloud consultancy, from across the country.
Our Knowledge Transfer partnership (KTP) with RGU seeks to develop our R2S software for the global construction and infrastructure sectors, which has introduced us into centres of excellence outside our core market; for example, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC).
Our team is proactively involved in steering groups, industry forums, CSR projects and the chamber of commerce; and we are learning from our sister companies across the James Fisher family, and their expertise in industries as diverse as renewables and defence. Oil and gas is prioritising innovation, embracing transferable technologies and shaking its historic hesitation and, by doing so, playing a key role in this critical intellectual infrastructure.
Once again, Scotland is positively (for us) disproportionately delivering innovation.