"If you do not innovate, you evaporate" these are Stuart Cosgrove's opening words in his Sunday Times article today in which he argues for more ambition to grow Scotland's already impressive digital media industries.
Stuart's own considerable capacity for innovation was recently used to great effect by the economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, which asked him to chair a committee to devise a strategy for the sector. The end result, a highly readable report called Digital Inspiration, was published last week.
Digital Inspiration is very different from the typical wafflesome official document you need several cans of Red Bull to get through. It has lots of witty illustrations and makes concrete recommendations on how to grow an industry that already employs 42,000 people in high quality jobs and generates £3.16bn for the Scottish economy. Digital Inspirations sets out a series of measures to double the sector's value to £6.3bn by 2012.
One of the most striking pieces of research in "Digital Inspiration" is a graph illustrating Scotland's strengths and weakness. Scotland is brilliant at innovation and creativity. But we need a better commercial environment to build more companies and, as Stuart says: "Shorten their journey to market and increase the value they retain."
Alistair Darling failed to offer the games industry tax breaks similar to that for film in the Pre budget report this month. Stuart Cosgrove and Scottish Enterprise are urging the Scottish government to use the powers it already has under devolution to give tax breaks to firms in Dundee, which he calls "The Harvard of games consoles".
Politicians and the media in Scotland regularly pontificate on how public discourse should "concentrate on getting Scotland out of recession". Yet when talented, busy people offer tangible solutions such as Digital Inspiration, it doesn't get as much attention as it should. Instead we carp on about whether the First Minister was snubbed by Arnie Schwarzenegger and invent unhelpful divisions between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
So let's stop being doom sayers and become doers. It's time Scotland made, marketed and profited from our innovations - as we did in the great industrial age of shipbuilding and engineering. We should emulate the energetic Mr C who, as Channel Four's Director of Nations and Regions, won Scotland a generous share of his channel's 4iP fund to develop new media. 4iP already runs a lively on-line social network for Scottish new media professionals, 38 Minutes. You can read Stuart's own blog on 38 minutes here. As you might expect from the co-host of our funniest radio show, it is highly entertaining as well as intellectually stimulating.
NOTE: The cute illustration (the blonde girlie in tartan shorts, not Stuart silly!) is made by WeeWorld a Scottish company founded by Mike Kinsella who have now designed 30 million online avatars for kids all over the world