Big Ideas – Our TEDxGlasgow Award 2017 Shortlist

This year marks the inaugural TEDxGlasgow Award, which aims to celebrate and showcase incredible innovations and ideas from Scotland that we can support in taking to the next level. We were hugely impressed with the quantity and calibre of submissions from people from all walks of life. Of these, we’ve shortlisted the following 10 who will present to our judges on 27th April. The two that the judges select will go on to pitch live on 2nd June to our TEDxGlasgow 2017 audience. So, let’s take a look at the 10 who have made it through to the judging day (in alphabetical order of surname) and their big ideas.

Matthew Adams

Matthew Adams is the Founder of The Ally Bally Bee Project. He is also a digital marketing professional with more than seven years of experience working in the UK charity sector. His expertise lies in content/email/social media marketing, digital strategy and digital project management. He also holds a Master’s degree in Health and Social Marketing.

There are some 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK currently. Dementia can be difficult enough for an adult to comprehend – so how do you explain it to a six year old? The Ally Bally Bee Project is on a mission to create the world’s first personalised children’s book about dementia. A book where character names and dementia-related behavioural traits are tailored to your situation. Maybe you want to explain Nana’s dementia to little Sophie or perhaps you want to help little Leo understand why his Uncle sometimes acts the way he does. The Ally Bally Bee Project is on a mission to make such difficult conversations easier.

Over more than two years, Matthew has been working hard to bring his idea to life. He works on the project in his spare time (juggling fatherhood and employment) but his passion for creating such a valuable resource for children has kept him going.

His favourite TED talk is Robert Waldinger’s “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness”.

What resonated about this talk for Matthew? He felt that we all see a lot of books, blogs and talks about things like this, but this this was the first example he’d found that he felt was worth taking note of. The reason being that it was a study carried out over such a long time. And the conclusions, he found, are quite touching.

Jeroen Blom

Jeroen graduated from the master program Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology in 2013. His graduation project Sensible Sense focused on designing perceptive qualities in an artificial tactile sense for amputees. It was awarded with excellence and has been to various exhibitions in the Netherlands and internationally.

Since 2014, Jeroen has worked for The Glasgow School of Art in the Experience Lab team with the Digital Health Institute. Jeroen leads Experience Lab projects to create the environment for rapid and iterative experience trailing of products and services together with users, researchers, experts and businesses. His proposed idea is currently a research project around prosthetic greaves and collaboration.

Phil Grady

Phil Grady’s career has been in developing and growing businesses across the media and financial sectors.

In this time, he’s seen many people unable to get a loan or forced to pay punitive rates to access credit simply because they haven’t got a credit history. For Phil, this seemed unfair and unnecessary. This was the inspiration behind the creation of the Affordability Passport™, which opens doors for both customers and financial retailers. Built in Glasgow, this product aims to create a safer financial world more resilient to financial crisis and encouraging a higher level of financial consciousness.

Phil’s favourite TED talk is Tom Thum’s beatbox session that he did in Sydney.

It was amazing to watch one guys throw his voice and was highly entertaining. I have also enjoyed a number of TEDx talks around Blockchain too, very informative and educational.

Tracey Howe

Tracey is a Chartered Physiotherapist and a Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University. She is also Director of Cochrane Global Ageing, working with the World Health Organisation and connecting people and organisations across the world to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise. She was previously Deputy Chair of Glasgow City of Science and is a Member of the Board of Management of City of Glasgow College (Scotland’s super college).

Tracey is a Winston Churchill Fellow 2016 and travelled to New York to learn about large-scale health communication projects. This was where she was introduced to Alex Truesdell, Founder and Executive Director of Adaptive Design Association Inc. Tracey was blown away with her concept of constructing personalised assistive products (e.g. supported seating, standing frames) using corrugated cardboard to enable people to live productive, independent and dignified lives. Tracey has taken on the task of introducing the concept of Adaptive Design to Glasgow and spreading this across the world by creating a global network of professionals and amateurs to collaborate and co-create solutions to meet the specific needs for those in most need, including pop-up assistive products services in disaster zones.

Tracey’s favourite TED talk is “My stroke of insight”. In her amazing talk Jill Bolte Taylor a neuroanatomist generously and eloquently shares her experience of having a stroke. She brings the story to life in such a way using colourful and emotive language and humour that you feel that you are actually experiencing it with her. You share her emotional roller-coaster of that day and thereafter. This was one of the first TED talks Tracey watched and it has had a long-lasting impact on her from a professional perspective and has gained more significance in her personal life as her mother-in-law suffered a major stroke last year.

Angela Ireland

Angela Ireland is director of MILK Cafe, a social enterprise that supports refugee and migrant women. The company offers pre-employment training, English language classes and creative workshops that encourage women to build support networks and grow in confidence. Angela has seventeen years’ experience in the hospitality industry spanning a range of different establishments from family owned cafes to high-end restaurants, working in various capacities within the kitchen, front of house and managerial roles. She has an MA(hons) English Language from the University of Glasgow; throughout her degree she was involved in a variety of community volunteering projects.

She has volunteered for Bridges Programmes; a charity which supports the integration of asylum seekers and refugees into the workplace as a part of their mentoring scheme; it is for women only and offers one-to-one support and mentoring to refugees in the Glasgow area. Angela is a trained ESOL teacher and taught classes with Unity; a free and valuable resource to asylum seekers and refugees.

Her new project is to open a social enterprise hostel supporting refugee and migrant women. This will provide boutique hotel/hostel style accommodation available to the general public as well transit accommodation and employment for refugee and migrant women.
Angela’s favourite talk is Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger’s “Our story of rape and reconciliation”.

This is a brave and beautiful TED Talk that is both gripping and uncomfortable to watch. I think this is a very important topic to bring into the spotlight and the way that Thodris and Tom have gone about it is admirable. I like the talk because the format is very respectful; the open dialogue and the way that both parties speak and are listened to is an important example in how we need to deal with difficult subjects.”

Neil MacMartin

CTO of FreeFlow Technologies, Neil is a proven inventor/ innovator and someone with a deep understanding of classical mechanics applied to physics. He was the founding entrepreneur of Power of Youth an organisation that leads by example and ensures its entrepreneurs have; the planet, people, purpose and profit at the core of why their business and or products exist.

A proven entrepreneur and inventor within transport and leisure market. With over 20 years experience in his family business, a business that he helped grow 33% per annum between 2005 to 2011. He then re-invested his families profits to develop the world’s lightest power to weight electromechanical drive system. His EBike system is capable of transferring over 900Kg of driving force to the crank with only using a half horse power engine. He believes in a greener cleaner world of tomorrow – one where more should be done to reduce the amount of finite raw materials and energy used within transport.

Neil’s favourite TED talk is Pranav Mistry’s “The thrilling potential of sixthsense technology”.

To be a great talk on TED it needs to cover all 3 factors; Technology, Education and Design – I felt that Parvan had done it all perfectly in this talk. I first seen this talk in 2010 and was blown away by this amazing technology, design and how simply it could interact with everyday life. The technology allows you to project information onto surfaces, walls, and physical objects around you, and lets you interact with the projected information through natural hand gestures, arm movements, or our interaction with the object itself. On a personal level I was amazed that Pranav made the decision to make his code open source, for the bettering of humanity – to allow humans to better interact with physical world, rather than the digital one. As far as I could tell the technology was world leading at the time and I learned all I could about it.”

Alan Mahon

Alan Mahon, 26, is the founder of Brewgooder, a craft beer brand which donated 100% of its profits to clean water projects all over the world. During its first year of trading Brewgooder became the first nationally listed social enterprise product to be stocked by Asda and funded two wells in Malawi, providing clean drinking water to 5,000 people.

His background is in managing the operations of the Scottish Business Awards, the largest annual gathering of business leaders in the UK, which has welcomed President Bill Clinton and George Clooney as its keynote speakers. In 2016 the event welcomed Hollywood legend Leonardo DiCaprio, raising almost £1m for good causes in a single night.

Alan is also a Trustee of Social Bite Fund – the charity of the high street sandwich store, which employs formerly homeless people. In 2014 he launched the company’s corporate catering division which has gone on to reach revenues of £1m per year, making it one of Scotland’s largest independent caterers.

He is a passionate advocate of “philanthropic consumerism” – a concept that can see the everyday consumption of goods and services turned into acts of simple – and even subversive – philanthropy.

Alan’s favourite TED Talk was given by Brene Brown – “The Power of Vulnerability”.

Growing up I was surrounded by love. I was raised by my Mum and two much older sisters, who constantly told me that I was the best… not that I was better than anyone else or that my being ‘the best’ was a competitive thing against others. I was told several times a day that I was loved. This simple experience is what I credit everything, however small, I have done or will do in my life.

“When I began working for Social Bite I realised that many of the guys we worked with may never have heard someone say they love them or recognise their value as a person with love or kindness, in words or actions. Slowly I decided to try (and often fail) every day to be a source of love to people who may at first seem incapable or undeserving of it can have profound effects that can ripple across time and space. While Brown’s talk isn’t strictly about love, it is about the power of people to positively impact on the lives of others in small but profound ways.”

Iain McAndrew

Iain McAndrew is the Director of Development and Communications for Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). Iain has over 20 years of experience working in the third sector with some of the UK’s best-loved charities including Save the Children, Guide Dogs and RNIB.

Amazed by the ingenuity and innovation that exists in the charity sector, Iain is passionate about contributing to the growth and strategic direction of CHAS making a tangible difference locally, nationally and internationally. The desire to make something happen, make something better or provide support at the most challenging moments in someone’s life is what drives him.

His big idea is to develop a strategy for building collaborative ecosystems and communities across Scotland which promote integrated paediatric health and social care services and to have a model of care which ensures every child and family gets the support they need.
Why? In Scotland there are over 15,000 children and their families living with the diagnosis of having a life-shortening condition. To be told that your child has only a few days, weeks or years to live is inconceivable. It is words no parent wants to hear, yet this is happening in Scotland on an almost daily basis. Working together we can ensure that for each and every one of those children and their families there is the right care and support.

Iain’s Favourite TED talk is “The way we think about charities is dead wrong” by Dan Pallotta.

For me, it captures that very essence of why charities exist. Being mission lead is so important for me and it is what should always drive a not for profit organisation. I found the talk thought provoking, in that it directly addresses the myths which exist as to what a charity should and shouldn’t be whilst challenging charities themselves to behave in many respects with the same passion and entrepreneurial spirit which drove their founders to act. I return to this talk frequently and use it when influencing others as to how important the sector can and must be in social change.”

Gavin Neate

After serving with The RAF, Gavin began an 18-year career with Guide Dogs for the Blind. His comprehensive knowledge of visual impairment and routine experience of poorly installed pedestrian crossings led him to design a unique system by which any person living with reduced mobility, could safely and automatically operate a pedestrian crossing using their own smart technology. The company is installing the system in Largs and is receiving increasing interest from across the UK for further installations.

This success has led to a range of smart solutions based on the challenges disabled people face every day and his latest development, “Welcome”, will provide a smart platform which will perform the simplest and most important of tasks, the improvement of human to human interaction between people with disability and those without.

With an increasingly aged population and a need to address the challenges this presents, not only is Gavin’s work of social importance but has the potential to address many of the issues society will experience as our aged and disabled population increases.
Gavin looks forward to a time when he can enjoy hill walking, diving and travel as it will signify he has achieved his goals with Neatebox.

Gavin’s favourite TED Talk is by Chris Downey, an architect, who lost his sight in 2008. Today he is dedicated to creating more helpful and enriching environments for the blind and visually impaired. Chris explained in his TED Talk “Design for the blind in mind” in 2015 that after he lost his sight he became acutely aware of the needs of designers to think about all people when designing the built environment. Chris states that by doing so we don’t just enrich the lives of the blind but of all of society’s citizens. Sound, smell, textures are all forgotten in this design process and yet their involvement in can enrich all of our lives and make the world more inclusive. Whilst Chris focuses on visual impairment the idea that we should think about all people in design is of massive importance to Gavin and indeed Neatebox.

Chris importantly states that there are two types of people; “Those who are disabled and those who haven’t found theirs yet”.

Rebecca Pick

Rebecca Pick is the Founder and CEO of Pick Protection. In 2014 Rebecca won the Young Innovators Challenge with her idea of the Personal Guardian alarm after a neighbour was attacked and nobody came to help. The Personal Guardian is a wearable and discreet monitored alarm capable of providing a police response to the user’s exact GPS location. It also has the ability to gather evidence via a recording that can be used to assist in gaining a conviction in court.

Whilst Rebecca was studying a business degree at the University of Strathclyde Pick Protection became the first undergraduate business to win a Converge Challenge Award and the company was awarded Best Undergraduate Business in the UK from Santander Universities. To date Pick Protection has raised close to £1 million in private investment, grants and competitions.

Every 9 minutes in the UK an employee is attacked whilst working alone. Pick Protection is now providing the Personal Guardian as a lone worker protection solution and we want to keep every employee safe at work.

Rebecca’s favourite TED talk is Amy Cuddy’s “Your body language shapes who you are”.

We can’t wait to hear the judges’ thoughts and find out which two of the above will be shortlisted and taken to the TEDxGlasgow 2017 stage, where the winner will be chosen by our audience.

Follow and join in the conversation on Twitter using our hashtag #TEDxGlaAward.

  • Written by Cat Leaver
  • Posted on April, 12 2017

More News & Events

Read More
  • Big Ideas – Our TEDxGlasgow Award 2017 Shortlist
  • How a TEDx talk went on to support policy change
  • Meet our Judges for the TEDxGlasgow Award 2017
  • What happened next? With Libby McGugan