Neil McInnes: Looking to Edinburgh’s digital vision

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A DIGITAL vision will drive growth in Edinburgh. Edinburgh, more than any other Scottish city, has the potential to become a European capital of innovation, but to achieve this goal we need a long-term strategy driven by political and business leaders.

The news that the Capital’s bid to be part of the Super-Connected Cities Initiative has hit a stumbling block, thanks to bureaucratic red tape, is undoubtedly a setback. However, this is only one piece of a vast jigsaw.

A new Digital Health Institute is set to open at the University of Edinburgh – focused on using new technology to find solutions to the growing demands in Scotland on health and social care services. The project is a prime example of how politicians, business leaders and academics can work together in Edinburgh to create jobs and find innovative solutions to help Scotland flourish.

A targeted approach from all stakeholders will be the key to driving future success in Edinburgh. While political leaders can and should focus on a digital growth strategy, businesses can play their part by abandoning the old-fashioned “silo” approach and working together in partnerships.

A single SME operating alone can only contribute a small amount, but imagine the positive impact and growth that could be driven by the city’s approximately 20,000 companies all working together to raise standards in innovation and technology and ultimately create growth.

The facts speak for themselves. Edinburgh has a more productive workforce than any other city in the UK. Unemployment is lower than average and industries are becoming increasingly focused on growth sectors such as life science, renewable energy and green finance .

The coming months and years will be crucial. Despite national and international economic uncertainty, our city sits on the verge of an economic boom, driven by innovation and sustainability.

• Neil McInnes is the head of technology Scotland at Grant Thornton UK LLP