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Ok, so this is the first of our blogs. We'll post the first three weeks shortly, now that we've caught our breaths!

Highlights this week:

Company updates - All the 9 companies had their first set of 1-2-1s. These are part 1 of the check-gate reviews which will conclude in two weeks and trigger the first payment. We covered off topics of project plans, attendance, client meetings and general 'how's it going?' Delighted to hear that one of the companies is planning to hire two extra staff as a direct result of being on the programme.

CivTech® team - Great to have our Kanban board up and filled in. Some people are fans of digital boards, but having it physically up there makes it more 'real'. We have a very diverse set of companies at different stages and so tailoring a programme to take into account these needs is challenging. It's interesting to see my team get into full swing.

Studio visits - Our high profile visitors continue:

  • Martyn Wallace (new CDO for Local Government)- great blast of energy in the room and real endorsement for what we're doing. Thanks for the intro to SEEMiS Chief Exec whom we're meeting next week. 
  • Jason Leitch (National Clinical Director - Scottish Government) got round most of the companies - with a fire alarm cutting short the tour. He liked the diversity of the companies and the speed with which we had put this together.

'I had a fascinating morning visiting the work and people of CivTech®. I'm no expert on tech or entrepreneurship but I do know a public service challenge when I see one, particularly in the health and care service. CivTech® was innovative, interesting and striving to answer real questions. I'll be fascinated to see if those involved can come up with real, sustainable change and also to watch the model develop and expand. Thanks for hosting my visit, I hope to be back.'

  • A great meeting with some people from the Scottish Crime Campus, Gartcosh (which is a brilliant example of colocating agencies).
  • We had an enquiry from another UK agency this morning particularly interested in our methodology...

All our visitors seem not only impressed with the companies, but also willing to help them with contacts, data, contextual info. This exposure is invaluable. As Jason kindly commented:

Events - Members of the team attended various events. Johnston Carmichael put on some good pizzas at CodeBase as part of their continued engagement with the tech community. Coincidentally I met the very same investor quoted in Director General Ken Thompson's tweet last week. It's heartening to hear from investors and industry notables that they are delighted that the Scottish Government is taking a very innovative approach.

Workshops - Joe Tree did a great workshop (as fed back by the companies) on growth hacking and his experience on growing Blipfoto. Thanks to Graham Beedie and Jason Broekhuizen for their insights into agile delivery within the mygov team. We've just received all the tender submissions for all the workshop delivery partners. It will be good to get these procurements out of the way...

Insights - I believe we're getting there. Sure, there are bits and bobs that aren't quite right. The studio's still a bit bare - haven't even got all the furniture yet and we're waiting on bits of kit. The teams are still settling in so there's a bit of recalibration. But that doesn't matter - as a start up it's all about 'beg-borrow-steal' (well, not the latter, we're the Scottish Government and can't endorse that :) ). We're not doing anything special. We are delivering transformative change within the rules. Even if a line of code hadn't been written (which loads have) the attitude towards us shows the public sector is changing - they want access to talented companies and see this as a potential viable route to better value delivery.

Final thought - What better way to take stock of the first four weeks of CivTech® than to take off to Dorset for my annual meditation weekend.

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