above: Will Whitehorn
The evening of Thursday 2nd February saw the most recent event in FWB Park Brown’s Leadership Network Series. Will Whitehorn, former President of Virgin Galactic and special advisor to Richard Branson, currently Chairman of Clyde Space, Chairman of Glasgow SEC & SSE Hydro, and Deputy Chair of Stagecoach Group Plc, addressed invited guests at The Scottish Gallery on Dundas Street in Edinburgh on ‘How Entrepreneurial Companies develop an Innovative and Disruptive Culture’.
Amid fantastic artwork from the Geoff Uglow exhibition, Will spoke candidly about his broad career at the forefront of one of Britain’s most forward thinking companies and as right hand man to one of our most successful entrepreneurs.
He also described why the father of true disruption is not so much technology, but more the business plan that delivers “quality AND value” against a true appreciation of what the customer wants. He outlined numerous examples, throughout history, where development of transport and infrastructure has proved to be the crucial driver in unlocking advances in technology and the businesses that these conceive.
He explained that this has been repeated at the forefront of human development from trains and electricity to the internet and space tourism. Quite often the entrepreneurs creating businesses out of new technology find that the infrastructure isn’t yet able to cope and the businesses fail – an example of this being particularly noticeable in many of the early dot.com businesses.
Towards the end of dinner, Will led a lively Q&A on topics such as how micro satellites are set to revolutionise our lives and included several good Richard Branson stories throughout.
We are very grateful to Will and also the Scottish Gallery for their warm hospitality and of course our guests.
The next event in the leadership network series will be announced in due course.