Innovation is what will make Scotland’s economy a success - ​Andy Hadden

​Andy Hadden says his inland surf resort is a great example of pushing the boundaries to boost growth and productivity

Scotland has been synonymous with innovation for hundreds of years, building groundbreaking machines that powered the industrial revolution and inventing products that transformed the way we live our lives. Striving to always be at the forefront has served Scotland well.

In the everyday running of a business you do not need to beinventing the steam engine or working out how to clone a sheep. But I believe that pushing the boundaries to revolutionise even the most mundane of tasks will ultimately pay dividends. If we could adopt this ethos more widely in Scottish business it could boost economic growth and drive up low productivity which has plagued our economy for years.

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This need to innovate has driven me and my team to build what will be the world’s first inland surfing resort right here in Scotland. Although an unconventional idea on the surface, investors could quickly see how innovative it was, and they saw the value in being part of such a pioneering project. The project has already secured tens of millions of pounds from private and public investors, pension funds and local entrepreneurs. Ultimately, Scotland already had all the world-class tourism infrastructure needed and our offering would be, and now will be, an incredible addition to it.

Andy Hadden is founder of Lost Shore Surf ResortAndy Hadden is founder of Lost Shore Surf Resort
Andy Hadden is founder of Lost Shore Surf Resort

Some people might suggest that is not that radical given that similar wave pools exist elsewhere. But in reality it will be very different indeed. We will be the world’s first inland surf resort providing world-class sport, great accommodation, and some of the best food and drink in the country. This means Scotland will be leading the world, allowing the country to capitalise on the knock-on effect for adventure tourism and surfing, creating jobs and economic growth in the process.

I was determined since Lost Shore’s inception to be guided by ESG principles and deliver a destination that did not just maximise profits at the expense of other meaningful metrics, and to ignore the old paradigm of the zero sum game. Eventually, I hope this approach will be emulated by businesses across the country so they too can realise the benefits it can bring.

Lost Shore continues to be bold. We have harnessed the power of STEM to work with local schools, worked with the surfing community to create better pathways for our young athletes, and operated our business with an emphasis on habitat and social capital. One of the most groundbreaking projects has been collaborating with Edinburgh Napier University to create the Surf Lab, an academic-led unit that will work at Lost Shore to produce world-leading surfing research.

This has already paid dividends by testing a range of wetsuits to see what is best suited to Lost Shore. Consequently, we will now use state-of-the-art plant-based wetsuits, ensuring we have the warmest available, but, importantly, emit 80 per cent lower carbon emissions than other conventional wetsuits which are made from hydrocarbons and mined products. Our fleet of plant-based wetsuits will be the largest in the world and help to pave the way for a greener future for surfing.

An artist’s impression of how the Lost Shore Surf Resort will look when completedAn artist’s impression of how the Lost Shore Surf Resort will look when completed
An artist’s impression of how the Lost Shore Surf Resort will look when completed

Scotland's history of innovation has driven economic growth for centuries. Our capacity to lead in transformative endeavours in the future will be key to the success of the economy and ultimately our country. By nurturing a culture of innovation and collaboration, we can capitalise on emerging opportunities, boost productivity, whilst addressing the environmental challenges the world faces at the same time. Continued investment in innovation, and innovative projects like Lost Shore Surf Resort, will position Scotland as a global leader, fostering economic prosperity, job creation, and environmental stewardship for generations to come.

Andy Hadden is founder of Lost Shore Surf Resort

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