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Scots wha hae... changed the world!

Press Release   •   Jan 14, 2016 10:05 GMT

Just two weeks before the 90th anniversary of John Logie Baird’s first public demonstration of his now famous invention - the television (26 January 1926), VisitScotland has released an animation that illustrates how different the world would have been without Scottish innovators.

From the invention of television to the MRI scanner, ATMs to cloned mammals, toasters to the kaleidoscope, the two minute animation includes over 25 key Scottish innovations and developments that have shaped the world we live in today.

The film is being used by the national tourism organisation to promote the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, a 12-month programme of exciting events and activity, that will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”.

Other inventions in the film, which was debuted at a special parliamentary reception last night, include: the flushing toilet, marmalade, incandescent light bulb, telephone, piano foot pedals, colour photography, criminal fingerprinting, the Kelvin Scale, vacuum flask, steam engine, first pedal bicycle and adhesive postal stamps.

It is hoped the animation, which will be promoted worldwide through social media will motivate visitors across the globe to visit the country that has inspired leading pioneers, inventors, creatives, architects, scientists and designers.

Helensburgh born innovator, John Logie Baird gave the world's first demonstration of true television before 50 scientists in an attic room in central London on 26 January 1926. In 1928 Baird sent television pictures from London to New York by short-wave radio. He also demonstrated television in colour, and developed a video recording system which he called 'phonovision'.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“Whether it’s the home of the Father of Television, or the city where marmalade was born, Scotland is full of innovation and invention at every turn. There are, of course, far too many inventions to fit into one short film, so we have picked a few of our favourites and I am sure there will be a surprise or two in there for those watching!

“From textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 will shine the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems. This is tourism’s opportunity to showcase Scotland’s traditional and contemporary icons and our cutting-edge design to the world.”

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“In 2016 we are carrying forward the momentum from last year’s celebration of food and drink and will demonstrate our credentials as an innovation nation. From the Forth Rail Bridge to Dolly the Sheep we’ll show that Scotland’s creative, modern and inventive past, present and future can continue to inspire and influence audiences across the globe. I invite you all to enjoy the fantastic and diverse range of events on offer throughout the year.”

The animation was created by Scotland-based creative agency – Whitespace. Charlie Bell, Design Director at Whitespace said:

‘It's a really exciting year for Scotland's creative industries. And as a company working in a modern and very digital Scotland we are in awe of some of the amazing innovations that have come out the country down the years. The world literally wouldn't be the same without us.’

The Scotland’s Creativity at your fingertips film is available to view online at

Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design began on 1 January 2016. For more information, visit

Join the conversation #IAD2016

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting