The Imagination Economy: Scotland as a Spinout launch

The Imagination Economy: Scotland as a Spinout talk and eBook has been launched on Kickstarter. Find the link here:

The campaign is 31 days and ends on Thursday, June 5th, 2014.  The discourse series will start in July in Scotland and run through the end of August.


And the video as well is here.




I have pasted the verbage for it below as well:


eBook, Blog and speaking tour on the potential for the imagination economy of “Scotland as a Spinout”

Its an exciting time for Scotland.

“The Imagination Economy: Scotland as a Spinout” will be the title of the eBook to be published in December of 2014. The speaking and teaching  tour, the “discourse”  for this publication will commence this Spring in Canada, move to Scotland in July of 2014, and wrap up before the Referendum Vote on September 18th, 2014. Further versions of the talk will be delivered in Canada, aka “Big Scotland” in September. In fact, this talk has already been delivered to the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

The Imagination Economy will be translated into an online course as well in the business and public policy realm for continuing professional development and use the “Scotland as a Spinout” base case for analysis, whether or not the people of Scotland vote for independence this time around.

What am I asking for?

I am seeking $18,914 for a 2 month speaking and book tour in Scotland in order to deliver the discourse, which will both enlighten and entertain. The discourse lies at the intersection of art, business, and politics. It will benefit society and take us to a new level of understanding on the potential of the imagination economy, and how policy can get us there.

These funds will be used for travel expenses, venue booking and related expenses to get the word out on the potential for the imagination economy in Scotland.

*8As a disclaimer, please note that I am not aligned with either the Yes or No “Better Together Campaigns”.  My analysis and opinions are my own, and I am not swayed to take a stance on either side. The principals of the Imagination Economy can be applied to a number of countries or regions in terms of the potential of innovation policy, just as well as they could to a independent Scotland.

The Academic Entrepreneur
The Academic Entrepreneur

I am Michael Clouser,  the Academic Entrepreneur. For seven years I headed entrepreneurship education at the Edinburgh-Stanford Link at the University of Edinburgh. The Link was funded by Scottish Enteprise through and Act of the Scottish Parliment in the year 2000 shortly afer devolution. I participated in a lot of startup activity in Scotland, co-founded the E-Club, and researched innovation systems and university policy in the country. I want to deliver a discourse and a book on the Imagination Economy in Scotland this Spring and Summer of 2014. I will be leaving my home in North America to take on the tour. The purpose will help inform people of the possibilities for an imagination-based economy for a country, and the way that innovation policy can help acheive that. The current level of discourse is limited in conveying this message. I’d like to take it up a notch. I talk about entrepreneurs, innovation, creatives, incbuators, acclerators, currency, and the supply of entrepreneneurial risk capital, also known as venture capital. I talk about how universities and their knowledge bases can be better leveraged, and how immigrants can help build an entrepreneurial economy. I am asking your support for a speaking and book tour on The Imagination Economy for Scotland this Spring and Summer of 2014 leading up to the vote on Independence which in September. I will be publishing an ebook as well and if you contribute, you’ll get an early copy. I have other incentives for contributors as well. I wish to deliver my talk to every Scottish university and in every city and town possible. Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness, Paisley, Fife, Stirling, St. Andrews, Ayr, Ft. William, Dundee, Livinston, and of course Edinburgh. And even in other England cities as well such as Newcastle, Manchester, York, Durham, Cambridge and London itself. I will start the talks in Canada, where I compare the imagination economy of that country’s to Scotland’s. In fact I am starting this tour now on my own dime. I want to help make the field of policy more interesting and help show how it can be creative and a force for change towards creativity and entreprenership. In the end these talks aren’t just about Scotland and independence, or England, or Canada for that matter, they are about transforming countries into imagination-driven communities where creativity and knowledge are the main assets that drive economic development”

This talk will take the discourse to a new level, and inform policy makers.  Much of it was derived from my MSc and PhD work at the University of Edinburgh and my experience in the Edinburgh-Stanford Link over a period of 7 years.

The book itself will make policy more interesting and show how it can release imagination and creativity, attract creatives and innovators, and spur new venture creation. The policies and programmes explored are applicable to other regions as well.

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian’s Wall


Canada: June 2014

Scotland: July and August of 2014

eBook published: December 2014

Online course beta version that leverages book content: August 2015

Use of Funds ($ 18,914)

*Travel and publishing-related expenses (anticipated 50%)

    Plane flight; train and bus tickets; taxis and rental cars only if needed

    Lodging: hotels

   Meals and pub calls with learners

*Venue rentals for talks (anticipated 25%)

*Publishing-related expenses (anticipated 25%)

   eBook editing


   Video recording and editing

The Academic Entrepreneur Hillwalking in the Highlands of Scotland
The Academic Entrepreneur Hillwalking in the Highlands of Scotland

Benefits to contributors include a variety of fun and educational stuff such as the eBook itself, photo ops,  pub calls, lunches and dinners with the Academic Entrepreneur, t-shirts, and Festival events. For government, university and other organizations, consultations are available. Entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to receive strategic and tactical advice from the Silicon Valley-based Academic Entrepreneur when he is in Scotland.

 The eBook will address the following policy and programme levers and more. The discourse will touch on some of these but will be more limited of course.  The Academic Entrepreneur will fashion his talk in 20, 40, and 60 minute segments, plus allow time for Q & A. Also, He will participate in panel discussions. He plans to submit an 18 minute version of the talk to TEDx as well. The discourse in Scotland will be recorded and uploaded to Youtube and Vimeo, and linked the the Academic Entrepreneur blog as well, and made freely available for public consumption.

Topics Covered by the book and discourse:

  • University Policy.  How universities are administered, and what policies they are governed by. Also, this policy area concerns universities themselves, and offers specific areas of change for the increasing of innovation.  An area ripe for change, it is also an extensive one that I could write a book about, but will not. Rather, I’ll offer a few specific policies that can make a difference.  Scottish universities are recognized in the white paper on independence as a key area for innovation.
  • Research Policy. Another very broad area related to university policy and intellectual property policy. Again, I will offer some specific instances and suggestions for policy changes and creation to drive innovation.
  • Immigration Policy.  No doubt that this is the second greatest lever for innovation for Scotland. Unlike university and research policy, it will be much easier to change upon independence, and affords the greatest opportunity for effecting rapid change and an increase of the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of the nation-state. This is one issue that is not going to change if it’s up to Westminster. In fact, immigration policy is tightening, and will continue to tighten and get even more stringent in the future, whether it be in England, in Scotland or both, should Scotland not achieve independence. In my mind, this is a the biggest choke on innovation, over and above any that financial, tax or university policy are currently gripping.  This is an area addressed by the white paper on independence. While there is not a whole lot of detail on it, I’ll be proposing what might be perceived as even a more liberal immigration policy than currently offered up.
  • Entrepreneurial Policy.  Here in particular I speak to those non-tax, immigration or financial policies that can effect the supply of entrepreneurs.  For example, “Entrepreneur Attraction Programmes” (EAPs) such as those currently offered by South American governments such as Chile, Peru and Brazil. (Brazil has set the new benchmark for such programmes).  Such efforts result in the importation of brains and entrepreneurial capacity, as well as capital. This policy also bleeds over into programmes for supporting entrepreneurs. Many such do already exist and are offered by Scottish Enterprise. However, my particular focus will be on “high impact” programmes and those for mining knowledge and the creation of new technologies and ventures through academic entrepreneurship.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. Definitely a controversial one but an opportunity for Scotland to really innovate through thinking out of the box and striking out IP policy that is innovation-friendly and entrepreneur-friendly. I am going to ask Mike Masnick from Techdirt to chime in here and create the basis of an IP policy from the ground-up.  I’ll welcome input from others in this regard as well.
  • Financial Policy.   In this area I am focusing on policies surrounding the issuance equity and debt, and the legal structures of firms. In particular as well I’ll address crowdfunding and alternative financing vehicles.  Also, the issue of public equity markets, including the potential for creating a new world leader in this regard, is an option that should be considered.   A crucially important component of the knowledge economy is the availability of entrepreneurial finance. Here I’ll be exploring policies and programmes effecting business angel investors and networks, and venture capitalists, as well as public markets.
  • Incubation Policy and Programmes:  This is sort of new category I’ve created specifically for policy and programmes related to incubation of new ventures and projects.  This area covers acceleration and incubation, as well as co-working and spaces for creativity such as makerspaces and hacklabs.
  • Investment Policy. This has to do with how public funds and funds that the government influences are invested. It also concerns the possibility of a Sovereign Nation Fund, perhaps from the harvesting of oil revenues, and how and what this fund is invested.
  • Tax Policy. I am certainly not a tax expert and this is an area where I will touch upon but not dwell deeply. I believe it is often overplayed by conservatives as a focus for its such an easy lever to pull. Tax policy can help, and is a good thing, but it’s not the be all, end all that will lead to an innovative, entrepreneurial economy.
  • Communications Policy:  How communications networks, including internet, wireless and mobile, are treated and regulated.
  • Trade Policy:  Policies surrounding trade including import, export, trade, tariffs, and so forth.
  • Legal Policy. Another broad area. This has to do with the regulation of legal firms; also, of competition. Especially interesting here is the “non-compete” agreement that Mike Masnick has identified as being a major instigator of innovation through its non-enforcement in California.
  • Currency. Another area for great leaps in innovation. The conversation around currency is stifled in my opinion. Thus I’ll address this as it’s a key area of government policy that is too opportune to pass up and just resort to a two solution alternative: the Pound or the Euro? Instead the exploration should be towards the creation of a new currency that will set the standard for the world in terms of how it is administered. Such a currency might be asset-backed, commodity-backed, electronic, all three or none. The point is that the opportunity to create a new, smart currency should not be missed.
  • The European Union.  Also a major issue of policy where there is a simple two-sided argument currently raging: “The EU or Not”? How easy will it be to join?  Rather the conversation might better be hinged around the question of whether or not the EU’s policies are good for a new innovation policy in Scotland. A cost-benefit analysis is indeed needed, but first we have to recognize the potential of policy changes for innovation.

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