Message from a time-travelling founder

Happy New Year

By Edwin Colyer, Founder and Impact Lead

31 January 2024

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


We’re looking forward to 2024 – but what if we could travel through time and look back on our ideal year? Founder and Impact Lead Edwin Colyer fast forwards to January 2025 for a moment of imagined reflection on 12 months of learning and growth.

It’s just a couple of weeks into January 2025, and already I’m immersed in a whirl of projects and meetings. 2024 was an important year for us though, so I want to mark it with some reflections on how far we’ve come.

Christmas 2023. Catapulted from a full working week into the middle of family festivities with no time or space for the transition, it took me a while to do more than eat, sleep and relax. Yet through my deep winter dozing and ruminations over the usual mince pies and left over nutroast on toast, I found myself in a continual state of mild surprise: Scientia Scripta was still operational, I’d made it through a tough 18 months and the team was still intact (and growing). None of these achievements were guaranteed and they’d all needed varying levels of crisis management, thinking on our feet and perhaps a smidgen of dumb luck too.

A year on, it’s hard to believe I ever doubted us. We’re bigger, and I think better, than ever before, and things are set to continue that way. And not just growing in size. For me, staying true to our mission and values matters most. So how did 2024 pan out?

Success stories

Here are my top highlights:

Curation sensation
The Crick opened its Hello Brain exhibition on neuroscience, curated by our Head Creative Holly, to great fanfare and acclaim. It recorded record footfall, garnered sparkling reviews and triggered new research questions and collaborations.

Democratising AI in Scotland and beyond
I participated in the Scottish AI Summit in March, sharing insights from PEAs in Pods and my vision for a national infrastructure for a People’s Panel for AI, to open up AI to robust ethical scrutiny. The trip was the seed to forming a consortium to find funding and take this forward.

Meanwhile, our TeenTethics project launched its Code of Ethical Innovation, developed by young people, for young people. ‘A vital and visionary project that places the values of our future engineers at the heart of tech innovation,’ said The Guardian.

Halfway to 50×50
We launched our 50×50 strategy to acquire 50 leading research and innovation businesses and institutes. In under six months we are already halfway there – here’s to 25 more in 2025!

Double down
When Adam French joined us back in January 2024 we were six. He jokingly predicted we’d have 15 people at our “not Christmas” party in 2025. Thanks to a frantic (and stressful) summer of intense recruitment, we are just about to appoint person #12. I reckon that’s within the margin of error.

MetaMosaics method goes from strength to strength

We launched our novel, inclusive MetaMosaics workshop method in June and we trained and accredited our first cohort of MetaMosaics Facilitators last autumn. We now run around one MetaMosaics workshop every week.

Open Impact
12 months behind schedule, but we finally launched our dedicated research impact partnership service in April 2024. We have two pilots in running, one looking at local policy alignment on speech and language service delivery, one looking at adding new a new critical thinking competencies into the National Curriculum. Six more “huddles” (as I like to call them) will kick off in March 2025

Bang on target (nearly)
We almost hit our annual revenue targets, and still managed to double our income compared to the previous year.

Living our values

I have so much pride in the incredible team and their professionalism. But these successes are not the only stories I want to tell.

I know in our capitalist liberal democracies, businesses are supposed to be profitable. And there’s no shame in wanting to pay the bills, go on holiday, lead a comfortable lifestyle (provided it is not to the detriment of the environment or other people’s wellbeing).

But profit for me is about the value that Scientia Scripta brings to its staff, clients and our wider communities and environments. And throughout 2024 I’ve seen so much evidence of how we continue to nurture, empower and inspire.

Looking after our own

  • We approved our Employee Handbook in February. Between all the boring policy-speak, it’s our guide to building a kind and caring team, with ways to reduce stress, deal with crises, maintain health and wellbeing, provide career development opportunities, and ensure that we embrace diversity, promote equality and actively include people in our activity.
  • We express our values every day. I see our team developing a culture of kindness, mutual support, social responsibility and making ethical choices – even when they’re not the easiest options.
  • Our first staff survey showed that generally, people at Scientia Scripta have a sense of ownership over their work and feel that they belong within the company. They’re not afraid to voice challenging ideas, and they trust the leadership team to be transparent with them.

Protecting the world around us

  • We revised and approved our Environmental Policy and Net Zero Action Plan. Key features include: a plan for sustainable transport and work environments, audit criteria for suppliers to make sure they align with our values, and a plan to get all our operations running on renewable energy.
  • We measured our 2023 emissions and now have a plan to reduce per capita emissions by 5% this year.
  • We scored in our initial B Corp self-assessment, created a plan to hit the 80-point threshold and expect to submit for certification by summer 2025.
  • Our recruitment practices keep improving and we’re sticking with our strategy for no-CV shortlisting and hiring people based on their skills and strengths rather than their track record. Candidates have consistently said they enjoy our refreshing approach and find it rewarding. We made special effort this year to make our recruitment friendly for neurodivergent applicants.

A manic year – I wonder when things will calm down a little? But I have no regrets about what we’ve achieved so far, and look forward to see what delights and surprises 2025 brings as we keep working together, for good.