Changing the game…

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Something magical is happening in Scotland………


Imagine a game – a board game or a video game. The objective is to build a nation.

Not just any nation – a nation that’s equipped for the business challenges of tomorrow.

You start with a landmass. Not too big, not too small. Just enough to house a population.

Say, just over 5 million people. A reasonably sized nation.


These 5 million people – live roughly in and around half a dozen major towns and cities.

The cities are modern, with all the infrastructure you’d expect from a modern city.

Now, imagine these cities were far enough away to have their own unique identities – but – and here’s the rub – were close enough together to ensure that travel time between each and any other city was no more than about 3 hours by train or car, and literally minutes away if you fly.

You add a transport infrastructure to your country. You connect the cities.


Sounds like a pretty decent start so far, yeah?


Within these cities you create a business community. A community steeped in history and tradition. A community that recognises the achievements of the past – but which is focussed firmly on the future.

Then, you add some places of learning to your country. No point having a commercial community if you don’t have an academic infrastructure capable of supporting that community.

So, you dot some places of learning around your cities. You don’t just add any places of learning to your game – you add some of the best places of learning in the world. In fact, amongst those places of learning, you add 5 Universities that feature in the top 200 in the world to your game. You add excellence.


You look back at the business community to check what this addition has done. It has inspired innovation, creativity, excitement and entrepreneurship.

A couple of hours into creating your country, you’ve created something pretty well equipped for the business challenges of tomorrow.


Well, the game is real – and the challenges of tomorrow arrived yesterday.


The good news – this imaginary nation is a place many of us already call home. Scotland.

The bad news – the game’s just been updated – and we need to build again.


I’m sure most of you are familiar with the phrase “Data is the new oil” with reference to the untapped potential that Data presents to the worldwide business community.

I’ve written this blog to talk about how we, MBN Solutions, are helping our nation answer the challenges that tomorrow presents.


MBN Solutions has 11 proud years of operating at the forefront of Talent challenges in the Data Industry. We’ve worked with businesses all over the world. From London to Munich, Hong Kong to San Francisco.

But we call Scotland home.

The challenges of tomorrow are our reality.


Last year, we were proud to partner The Data Lab in their pioneering MSc. Placement Project. The Data Lab, an Industrial Innovation Centre funded by the Scottish Funding Council, exists to promote and stimulate economic growth in Scotland’s Data Technology Industry.

As part of this mission, Data Lab fund MSc. level qualifications across a variety of those World-class universities I mentioned earlier.

Those qualifications, however, need to be bolstered by real-life commercial experience in order to truly add value to the Scottish economy – and this is where MBN Solutions came in.

Over the last 10 years, we have developed a community-focussed series of activities, designed to bring together all levels of experience and interest from the Technology sectors that we operate within.

We have organised formal events – featuring speakers from companies like Channel 4, ASOS, Money Supermarket, Standard Life, IBM & eBay.

Our Meet-Up Groups – and we run one focussed on Data Science & Technology and one focussed on Blockchain – have a combined membership of over 3,000 Scottish based individuals and regular monthly attendances of 200 enthusiasts at our locations in Glasgow & Edinburgh.

We hosted Scotland’s premier Blockchain themed event – bringing 250 people to RBS Gogarburn in Edinburgh to talk all things “distributed ledger” with a day of international speakers.

We have collaborated with the education sector for a number of years now, providing talks, guest lectures and workshops to a variety of courses and classes – helping aspiring Technologists fully understand the potential for careers that exists within the community we are at the heart of.


Using our unrivalled network of contacts within the Scottish Technology community, our Marketing reach and our commitment to improving the Employability skills of the communities we work within, we worked with students to improve the soft skills needed to secure employment in their chosen field, and we worked with businesses throughout the nation to create commercially valid Projects for students to work on over their summer break.


The numbers involved – 78 Projects identified, 48 students found placements, 50%+ of these students have since secured permanent employment with their summer hosts.

We placed students within the NHS, delivering Data expertise to projects to improve patient care across the nation. We placed students with Glasgow City Council, working with a digital transformation team focussed on optimising services for the city’s citizens. We placed students with Thornton’s Law in Dundee, bringing modern Data expertise to a professional services sector. We worked with STV, HSBC, Virgin Money, Scottish Power, Aggreko and a host of other well-known brands – ensuring that they were able to assist their hosted students with understanding what “excellence” looks like.


This year – the challenge is bigger. We have to create 100 Summer Projects across the nation. We have to equip 100 Data students with the soft skills a modern business community needs. We have to help make a difference.

With dozens of businesses already involved this year, and the matching process about to really gather pace, the window of opportunity grows smaller every week.

We are looking for Scottish-based businesses, of any type and size, who have a Data asset, team or function, to get in touch to find out more about this amazing initiative.


Let’s not just play the game, let’s change the game!

   Robin Huggins