Innovation

I have been involved in a few interesting things since I last posted. Many years ago I invented a new food product, deep-fried haggis, neeps and tatties. For those non-Scots reading, a few words of explanation might help. Haggis, I think everyone knows; neeps are turnips (or suedes); tatties are potatoes. It is traditional around the time of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland national poet, to have Burns Suppers at which people recite his poetry, toast various things related to the poet and eat a meal of haggis, neeps and tatties.

There is also a tradition in Scotland of eating deep-fried food, usually fish or some other commodity ,and chips. In Scotland, deep-fried fish and chips is known as a fish supper. Because of the inherent unhealthiness of deep-fried foods, the Scottish Executive and the health and education authorities are trying to persuade Scots to eat less deep-fried food. Scotland even invented the deep-fried Mars bar, where the confection is dipped in batter and then fried in hot oil. This is now served as a sweet course in at least one major Parisian restaurant.

My version of the deep-fried haggis, neeps and tatties (known as a Burns supper, of course!) does not involve any batter and, because it is flash-fried, is quite healthy. Haggis itself is a healthy food, as barley is an important ingredient. My Burns supper can be chilled and microwaved to warm it up.

I have been trying to persuade a food manufacturer in Scotland to take on the product, make it and sell it and pay me a royalty but so far without success. I have discussed the idea with a number of large food companies and, although several have described it as an excellent idea, none wants to take the chance with it. Two weeks ago, I was featured on a Glasgow radio station, Saga 105.2 fm, discussing the product and how I came up with the idea. The presenter, Alastair Alford, was quite taken both with the technique for creating the idea and with th idea itself. Perhaps someone will have heard the interview and will contact me.

I am also working with a major Glasgow construction company on helping them to develop a culture of innovation. It is not easy in such a traditional industry but CBC are to be congratulated for working at it and not giving up. I hope to report in a later newletter on how this project is going.

Finally, I completed my term at CEDA last week. When I left I gave everyone a badge with a cartoon of my face and the legend I worked with Alex around the edge. Everyone loved the badges and several are still wearing them. The cartoon was drawn by Lorna Campbell at CEDA and the badges were made by a young woman trying to pay off her loans. Take a look at www.onegirloneyear.co.uk for more ideas.

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