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Written by Peter Thomson

The industrial textile industry has gone through difficult times in recent years with many struggling to survive. Scott & Fyfe have been no different and some five years ago we watched our traditional business go into decline and plummet off the bottom of the graph. This made Scott & Fyfe really sit up and take notice, realising that in order to survive we needed to adapt and react to new opportunities but at the time we were not sure how.


Developing the Now Team with GlasgowSchool of Art (GSA)


NOW logo 



As this realisation occurred our Chairman, Nick Kuenssberg, heard that a Glasgow School of Art (GSA) team were working on a new innovation programme and made contact with them. As a result, the S&F NOW team (New Opportunities Within) was created and dispatched to GSA in order to learn all they could about ideation, innovation and opportunity spotting.


Historically, new ideas had been the domain of a certain few within S&F and were kept within the confines of what we knew or thought we knew. What GSA did was to encourage and empower members of the NOW team to think outside of their normal constraints.


As a member of this myself, we were given carte blanche to look at anything and everything, with many of us finding that as individuals we had more to offer than we had previously believed. We also realised that as a team we could tackle almost any problem. A huge part of this process was learning the Innovation Tools from GSA.

There were plenty of these, more of which can be found in our Innovation Toolkit but my personal Top 5 are:


1. Six Hats

Six hats is a discussion tool, which facilitates more productive and creative meetings. It is a simple metaphor for putting on your different thinking hat. For example, if a person is wearing the yellow hat they must be optimistic and hopeful whereas if they are wearing the white hat they must be objective and provide facts and figures.


2. Brainstorming

A good brainstorm session generates a lot of different ideas. During a brainstorm there is no filtering, no judgement and certainly no such thing as a bad idea!



POINT is an acronym of useful words to use in order to organise your thoughts after a brainstorming session. It allows you to group things together, draw conclusions and consider things in greater detail. The acronym stands for:


  • Problems
  • Opportunities
  • Insights
  • Needs
  • Themes


4. Dotocracy

This is a great method to narrow down ideas. Each person is allocated a number of dots (usually 3) and they then use the dots to vote for their favourite ideas. This method allows everyone to be heard equally and is a fast and effective filtering method. 



SCAMPER is an acronym for a useful list of words that prompt you to further develop an idea to its full potential by covering each of the letters within. It stands for:


  • Substitute
  • Combine
  • Adapt
  • Modify
  • Put to another use
  • Eliminate
  • Rearrange


Putting the Innovation Tools to Use


 We created a metaphorical hopper (funnel) filled with ideas and using the tools developed with GSA we selected our target markets and products. After this we then set about bringing these to fruition.


Many of the ideas were way of the mark but we were not overly concerned as we had adopted the fail fast philosophy and as we are always putting new ideas into our hopper, we could quickly replace the failed ideas with new and potentially better ones. The tools allowed us to quickly put meat on the bones of theses ideas and make informed decisions on whether or not to take these forward.


As a result of this new innovation – led strategy and rapid prototyping, we have managed to successfully put around thirty new products into the market place in the 5 years since we began this process.


For more information on this, have a look at the GSA and S&F Culture Of Innovation; New Opportunities Within book. These tools have allowed us to work more effectively with our new and existing customers, developing innovative textile solutions to problems that would not have been considered before.


We have also held workshops with various blue chip companies, working in partnership with them to generate ideas and also to teach them these innovative and creative tools that we use. If you would like to work with us in this way or learn more - get in touch! 



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Written by Michaela Millar

We are pleased to announce our participation at the Vision London exhibition and conference, 2nd - 3rd June at Olympia London, where we will specifically be promoting our Polymat Hi-Flow Max product for composite façade systems.


Vision London is specifically for architects, specifiers, end users and construction sector suppliers and the aim of the event is to bring these communities together to discuss, debate and showcase the latest innovations and developments for the built environment. Vision will focus on innovative building products, materials and technology, as well as new and inventive solutions that facilitate better building design.


Composite façade systems are gaining significant traction in the façade market due to their unique benefits such as increased design freedom, ability to create 3D multi-curved surfaces, increased life span, improved weather performance and compliance with building regulations such as fire performance and thermal  / acoustic insulation. This was exemplified recently through two high profile projects in the Netherlands that utilised such composite façade solutions – the Hilton Hotel at Schipol airport and the Stadskantoor Utrecht (SKU) office building.


We welcome anyone interested to visit us at Vision, where we will be exhibiting as part of the New Product Zone or alternatively, get in touch with us here.

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Written by Guest_Blogger

It has been clear from the first mention of Employee Ownership within Scott & Fyfe that the purpose was to provide a better future for all employees.


With this in mind, it is highly important to the company that all employees should benefit in the success of the company. Therefore, after a successful year in 2014, Scott & Fyfe employees will receive a share of the profits via its Profit Share Scheme - 50% paid as a cash bonus and 50% paid in company shares.


This is a testament to the hard work and effort being put in by each and every employee. We acknowledge that market conditions remain challenging but the team here at Scott and Fyfe are intent upon building a bringter future together.


“Hard work and focus are allowing enabling our progress on the journey. Some of the highlights would include the capture of new accounts, successful new product launches and an expansion of our sales geography.”


You will find more information on our move to Employee Ownership here but if you would like to know more please, get in touch! 

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Written by Guest Blogger

As a doctoral researcher from St Andrews University, I was fortunate enough to accompany Scott & Fyfe in their journey to becoming a truly innovative company. Since November 2014, I have been coming into the office three days a week, taking on the role as a ‘fly on the wall’ (not a nasty one, of course) and observing how employees go about their daily affairs. My activities have ranged from engaging informally in conversations, asking endless (and probably at times somewhat dull and annoying) questions about their working lives, attending meetings and conducting scientific interviews. Without putting you to sleep my thesis examines a variety of things, primarily however I attend to working practices and how people work together in collaboration.


I experienced Scott & Fyfe as a fascinating place. I was amazed by the way the physical appearance of the innovation space facilitated creativity and collaboration. Every POD (business unit) has a designated space within the innovation space, equipped with whiteboards and flipcharts – a homeport of sorts. As is conventional wisdom, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Here, meetings and creative sessions such as brainstorms etc. are conducted. Because each POD has its own space, one doesn’t have to wipe out all that’s been accomplished at the whiteboard during the meeting. Instead, people leave it on, returning to it later as a group or on their own and continue where they left off.


Because Scott & Fyfe work in cross-functional teams, the collective is overly emphasised. I found this to facilitate knowledge sharing and impact greatly on leadership. ‘No one person has all the answers’ I was told frequently. People therefore are encouraged to step up to challenge conventional wisdom and routine (the nemesis of innovation), share new ideas or offer better insight. More often than not, the person best equipped to make a judgement call, instead of the person who may chair a certain meeting guides future actions. At any rate, I experienced Scott & Fyfe as a democratic environment where all people have a stake in the game for better or for worse.


Speaking of environment, I’m lacking words to describe the atmosphere at Scott & Fyfe. ‘Pleasant’ might be an understatement. I was welcomed astonishingly warmly from day one, and despite being a stranger encountered no reservations whatsoever. This may be the opportunity to extend a huge thank you to all employees who made my time so enjoyable and particularly those who endured the agony of me asking endlessly ‘may I record this meeting?’, ‘would you agree to another interview?’, and ‘what is the meaning of this that and the next thing?’ I don’t think I can say it enough, so thank you Scott & Fyfe, I hope you will have another 150 prosperous years ahead of you!


Christopher Mueller



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As a company based in Scotland, Scott & Fyfe are used to facing colder weather but I don't think anything could have prepared me for -21°C, which was the temperature in Indianapolis last week when I attended WWETT (The Water, Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport Show).






Formerly called the Pumper and Cleaner Show, around 13,000 people from 45 countries to attend this show. This year there was more than 520 companies exhibiting and with this being the first year I have attended, it was a good opportunity for me to gain insight into the US no dig market and to meet some new contacts.





Over the last year we have been working hard to develop a range of lining products for this market. These have included coated felt fabrics along with our new advanced glass liners, Alphashield and Naeliner. What was really encouraging was that the key players I spoke to showed as much enthusiasm in our products as we do.


For those of you I spoke to at the show, thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me and we look forward to developing relationships with you all in the future.


To find out more about our range of products for pipe re-lining please visit our products page or contact Michelle Quadrelli on +44 (0) 1382 554037.

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About Us

With innovation, diversity and partnership at the heart of our company’s ethos, Scott & Fyfe have been designing and producing a vast range of technical textiles for numerous market areas worldwide for almost 150 years. Our ability to design and manufacture products for both current and future market needs have allowed us to build a global reputation for excellence in both quality and service.

Scott & Fyfe
Tayport Works, Links Road, Tayport, Fife, Scotland

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We would love to hear from you, whether you have an idea, an innovation or a question. Please get in touch with us.

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