Scottish Government

With a workforce of more than five thousand, the Scottish government is one of the largest employers in Scotland, with responsibilities ranging from education and health care to economic development. Over the past decade, as devolution gained momentum, the government has taken on a broadening array of powers, responsibilities and activities. With that expansion has come an increasing need for greater leadership capacity, a need amplified over the past several years by a difficult economic cycle, demographic challenges and constitutional uncertainties. Government leaders recognized that the work of addressing challenges in a context of increasing ambiguity and uncertainty could benefit from the infusion of a different perspective – an entrepreneurial mindset. In 2012, Graeme Dickson, Director General Enterprise, Environment and Innovation, sponsored an initiative to send senior civil service executives to the Saltire Fellowship program. Over the following two years, three individuals, described below, became Saltire Fellows. Graeme explained the rationale for having them participate in the seven- month program:

“The Scottish Government has supported the Saltire Programme since its inception. We saw the growth in entrepreneurship as a strategic challenge for the country. A programme that developed our young talent therefore got our full support. However, we had never considered using it to develop our own staff until the Saltire Foundation approached us. So what were the opportunities we saw? It was principally about widening the networks that our colleagues would be exposed to and taking them out of their comfort zone. We also thought it would help change the perceptions of government officials as being capable of innovation as anyone else. And our three colleagues could see the opportunity themselves: competition for places was fierce and at a very high standard.”