Scott Russell : Technologist in Residence

Scott Russell has been the Technologist in Residence at The Famous Grouse Ideas Centre since January 2022, and in that time has supported a myriad of creative businesses, and SMEs seeking a creative solution, to develop and grow.

With a background in software training, print, and pre-press media, Scott’s experience lends itself perfectly to the high-tech, people-focused environment of the FGIC.

“Interestingly, while I was self-employed as a trainer, I had written a business plan for what we’d now refer to as a Hi-Tech Maker Space. I had been searching for co-working space that offered business support services but had come up against a brick wall. This was around seven or eight years ago, and it simply didn’t exist at that time. When I saw The Famous Grouse Ideas Centre for the first time, it was like my dream come true; everything I’d envisaged was there but with far better kit than I could ever have afforded!

“When I started with Culture Perth and Kinross (who operate the FGIC on behalf of Perth and Kinross Council) it was as the Maker Space Development Officer, looking after five maker spaces in libraries throughout Perth and Kinross. The opportunity to work at The Famous Grouse Ideas Centre came about a year into this and, following a phased start, I moved here full time in April 2022.

“There was a lot to of information to absorb about all the specialised machinery but I’m a quick learner and for a tech-head like me, the space is a playground. Day-to-day I do a bit of everything from the general admin such as setting up for events, taking bookings, answering queries, and offering advice, to ensuring the maintenance, engineer visits and upgrades are carried out on all equipment and software.

“I’ve also been creating a series of “How To” videos and guidelines that answer the most commonly asked questions and offer a step-by-step guide to using the kit. It means that people have instant support at their fingertips allowing them to crack on with their project in hand without waiting for me!

“My real expertise though, lies in supporting the businesses who use the space. Some people know exactly what they want to do and after a quick training session, they’re good to go. With others, I’ll talk through their requirements, and make recommendations. I’ll often provide demos on the kit or spend a couple of sessions making sure they’re happy with what they’re doing. The idea is that with some initial support, businesses can move forward at their own pace, booking in to use the kit, or utilising the space as an incubator environment.

“We have a number of creative businesses now using the FGIC regularly, to produce new product lines or test ideas for expanding their offer. Some are simply evaluating software they might invest in in future, others are experimenting with new production processes. And then there are the creatives who have taken the chance to work in new mediums and to explore the new and exciting opportunities that technology has afforded us. Check out our blog for some interesting case studies.

“Many people think it’s only creative businesses who can access the space but we’re also here to support all SMEs who require a creative solution to a problem. For instance, businesses in the food & drinks sector could produce prototype packaging before committing to a large run, or the UV and 3D printers could be used to create sample lines in branded goods for large companies before a final decision is made. This allows a trial-and-error phase on what is often a costly exercise – you can essentially make mistakes for free! And with the space to hold a large team meeting, brainstorming can be carried out while the progress happens.

“We also offer monthly introduction sessions which can be booked in advance, and I’m very happy to do one-to-one introductions for anyone who can’t make the scheduled sessions. The opportunities for the creative industries, and all SMEs in the area, are endless and I would urge anyone who is interested in finding out more to get in touch via the Famous Grouse Ideas Centre Contact Us page.

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