EDAS AGM 2016 - Scotland’s Economy and the European Union: A Time for Reflection

On Friday 17 June EDAS held its AGM as part of a special event entitled “Scotland’s Economy and the European Union: A Time for Reflection”.


  1. On Friday 17 June EDAS held its AGM as part of a special event entitled “Scotland’s Economy and the European Union: A Time for Reflection”. Hosted by PA Consulting at their Edinburgh office, the seminar examined the opportunities and challenges for Scotland's economy, and the capabilities of economic development stakeholders to help all sectors adapt to changing global conditions.
  2. Invited as keynote speaker was Dr. Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive and Chief Economist of the European Policy Centre in Brussels. The event also marked the completion of EDAS' Route Map of Common Ambition for Scotland, a policy analysis framework relating to the key areas of Internationalisation, Innovation and Skills. Attendees heard from Charlie Woods, EDAS Vice-Chair (Policy) and Director of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute (University of Strathclyde), who explained the key messages and outputs emerging from this work. There was also a talk by Lesley Fordyce, partner at PA Consulting, on engendering strategic organisational change. EDAS was pleased to be joined by an audience representing the diversity of the economic development community in Scotland.
  3. Robert Pollock – AGM Business
  4. The event began with a business breakfast and AGM matters conducted by Robert Pollock, Chair of EDAS.
  5. Robert described a successful 12 months for EDAS, which included holding a major conference on innovation with NESTA in June 2015; regular events and CPD courses; and witnessing an encouraging growth in EDAS’ membership. During this time EDAS also developed the Route Map for Common Ambition policy analysis framework.
  6. EDAS’ chair then outlined upcoming activity, such as the planned joint conference with the Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group (SLAED), on 8 December 2016. New CPD courses are also to be piloted in the coming period, and further seminars on key issues for Scotland’s economy are to be organised.
  7. Charlie Woods – EDAS Route Map of Common Ambition
  8. To download Charlie’s presentation, click here.
  9. At the conclusion of AGM business, Charlie Woods, EDAS Vice-Chair (Policy) gave a presentation on EDAS’ Route Map of Common Ambition for Scotland. Charlie is also director of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII).
  10. EDAS’ Route Map was developed to reconsider, in a collaborative manner, some of the big policy issues facing our economic development community. This work was progressed through the efforts of three working groups with a cross-section of EDAS’ members, on Innovation, Internationalisation and Skills.
  11. As core outputs, Charlie described the various events and publications that had emerged as a result of the Route Map. Information on these are available on EDAS’ Storify page.
  12. Each Route Map group also produced a document with ten key messages emerging from their work. After explaining these messages, Charlie moved on to describe what EDAS felt were the cross-cutting themes which could be drawn from the Route Map, for consideration of the economic development community in Scotland. These were:
  13. • The existence of local potential in a global context.
    • Social costs and benefits regarding the role of the public sector.
    • A systemic approach required to tackle complex issues, with culture and ambition playing a part.
    • Embedding the themes of equity and empowerment in economic development.
    • The importance of collaboration between different agencies and stakeholders.
  14. Charlie further reflected on lessons from the Route Map, stating his opinion that “the heart of economic development is realising unrealised potential”. He also spoke of what he considered to be the role played by EDAS in the economic development community: building skills, generating new options for policy and practice, exchanging knowledge, and providing a framework to realise potential.
  15. At the end of the talk, Robert Pollock added that it is an interesting time for economic development, with the devolution of new powers to the Scottish Parliament, a review of the enterprise agencies, the debate over the UK and Scotland’s place in Europe, and further changes coming for local authorities and the third sector.
  16. Lesley Fordyce – Transformational Change
  17. Lesley Fordyce, a partner with PA Consulting, addressed the audience on methods to effect strategic change in organisations and the economy.
  18. In her talk, Lesley discussed how change happens in phases: there is a need to create a plan, deliver it, embed the changes, and then make them stick. Key to this is realising latent talent and potential.