Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge


The Data Lab, Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group are organising the Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Challenge at CodeBase from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th October 2017. This event is sponsored by IntechnologyWiFi.

Edinburgh’s tourism industry is a powerhouse and one of the most important economic sectors in Scotland, delivering £1.3 billion of spend and supporting more than 30,000 local jobs. These figures are rising and this high growth can bring challenges in destination discovery, forecasting the tourism population and navigation and planning around the city.

Entrepreneurially minded data scientists and analysts, designers and software engineers will spend 3 days and 3 nights side by side analysing a range of tourism-related data to develop innovative products, services or tools that would help solve these challenges and benefit the tourism industry in Edinburgh.

Participants will form small cross-functional teams to work on a product prototype with support from subject matter experts and the wider technology community. Datasets will be provided by a range of public, private and third sector organisations with a stake in the Edinburgh tourism industry.

Whether you already have an idea that you would like to prototype or you would just like to make new connections, we invite you to come along and meet talented people with a shared interest in innovation in the tourism industry.

Use this opportunity to develop your career, gain new skills, network with professionals, meet potential employers or even kick-start your own company.

All our participants receive mentoring, 10 free meals and 24 hour access to the venue, and the top ranking teams can access support to develop their concept beyond the event.

£5 Student tickets and Product Forge Members Concession tickets available.



Joshua Ryan-Saha
Skills Manager at The Data Lab

Joshua is responsible for programmes that aim to improve data science skills across Scotland. He joined from Nesta where he set up and launched the £10m Longitude Prize and designed and ran multi-million-pound international challenge prizes in the fields of digital technology and the environment. Prior to it, Joshua worked as a consultant in Bosnia and Herzegovina working with international organizations such as UNICEF and IOM to design projects related to constitutional reform, tourism and reconciliation.

Paul Wakefield
Head of Marketing & Partnerships at Marketing Edinburgh Ltd

Paul is an energetic and highly successful senior manager with excellent business development, strategic marketing, corporate communications and client management skills.

Donagh Horgan
Future Systems & Civic Infrastructures

Donagh is a multidisciplinary design strategist working across various service innovation, transformation and holistic urban planning projects. He is based at the Institute for Future Cities, at the University of Strathclyde. His practice has grown from architecture into new areas of design thinking, and sits at the crossroads of design, technology and social change. Donagh has supportedtravel and tourism startups through programmes for Wayra Telefonica, and Ireland's Department for Jobs and Innovation.

Roz Hewitson
Senior Project Manager at Realise

Roz is a senior project manager at Realise - a customer experience, design and build agency. She has 4 years of digital project management experience and she is particularly interested in user experience and service design aspects of projects though she also has experience in running large technical projects.

Ewan Klein
Professor of Language Technology at University of Edinburgh

Ewan is a researcher in computational linguistics and natural language processing, with interest in practical applications of language technology. Currently focusing on tasks involving semantic analysis and inference. Ewan is also an ambassador for the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Dan Dickson
Young Scot 5Rights Youth Commissioner

Dan is currently a student at Edinburgh College and works with vulnerable communities of young people, in particular trans including non-binary and intersex young people. He is also on Young Scot's 5Rights commission, consulting for the Scottish Government on how Human Rights can be protected in the digital world.

Patrick Duckworth
Marketing Manager at IntechnologyWiFi

Patrick is the Marketing Manager at IntechnologyWiFi, with a previous career spanning PR, content, communications and journalism across a range of industries.

Manuela Calchini
Regional Partnerships Director - Edinburgh & Lothians, Fife

Manuela has worked in tourism since she arrived in Edinburgh in 1986. She trained and worked as a Blue Badge Tour guide and specialised in business tourism, working at conferences and on incentives. Manuela joined VisitScotland in 2005 in the Business Tourism Unit, later moving to the business engagment side of VisitScotland shortly after becoming the Regional Partnerships Director for the South of Scotland.

Ailsa Falconer
ICT Relationship Manager, City of Edinburgh Council

Ailsa has been involved in Edinburgh city marketing for 10 years managing the development & implementation of the city brand then working for Marketing Edinburgh to promote the city globally. She’s been managing the Connected Capital Programme aimed at improving connectivity in the city through broadband vouchers indoor wifi and the launch of the city centre’s outdoor wifi. She now works with council colleagues and external partners to help them better exploit technology to deliver their ambitious targets.

Sally Kerr
Digital Innovation Manager at City of Edinburgh Council

Sally is the Digital Innovation Manager for the City of Edinburgh Council, a role including emerging technologies, and innovation activities across the Council and digital developments. She was previously the Council's Web Manager and developed a number of award winning websites including the Council's primary site. Tammy has a lead role in the Council's open data programme, running our portal and encouraging data publication. She also has experience of running hacks and challenge events.

Jamie McHale
Founder at Telaco

Jamie is the founder of Edinburgh-based business consultancy Telaco, as well as a Saltire Fellow in Entrepreneurship. He is an an entrepreneurial leader with a focus on strategy, technology and communications.

Ewan Nicolson
Principal data scientist at Skyscanner

Ewan is the principal data scientist at Skyscanner. He trained as a physicist, and grew into a data scientist by learning about business and teaching himself code.

Michael Hayes
RookieOven Founder and Creating iOS and Android products at Add Jam

I have a passion for technology startups and in particular the technology startup community in Scotland. Through RookieOven (http://rookieoven.com) I strive to raise the profile of the Scottish startup community internationally and provide resources beneficial to the success of fellow Scots in technology.

Lesley Judge
Owner at Smart Tourism

Lesley Judge is a Chartered Marketer with 20 year’s business experience. She runs her own tourism marketing consultancy Smart Tourism, focusing on digital marketing communications, destination development and industry engagement, working with organisations including destination organisation Love Loch Lomond, ASVA, and the award-winning Destination Leaders Programme (DLP). Passionate about connecting tech with tourism, and developing strategic uses of data for tourism.

Matthew Higgs
Data Scientist at The Data Lab

Matthew is a Data Scientist at The Data Lab. He has experience in academia, industry, startups, and consultancy. As well as a founder of Glasgow AI and co-founder of ML Club. Matthew is interested in the design and evaluation of interventions, and helping everyone move up the data science hierarchy of needs. He has a PhD in Computational Statistics and Machine Learning from University College London.

Martina Pugliese
Data Scientist at Mallzee

Martina works as a Data Scientist at Mallzee, the leading mobile app for fashion discovery, based in Edinburgh. Martina analyses the data about clothing preferences of users, deriving insights and building algorithms to forecast trends and recommend users relevant items. She also works with other teams in the company to inform the whole business decision making process.

Daniel MacIntyre
Director | Business Development | Digital Strategist

Daniel is the Senior Tourism Development Manager of Scotland’s biggest Destination Marketing Organisation and Convention Bureau. For the next 3 years, Daniel will be contracted by Scottish Enterprise to provide agile and innovative business support to increase productivity levels in Glasgow’s tourism sector. He is professional member of Entrepreneurial Scotland, Scotland’s Town Partnership and with regard to digital project management he is a Certified ScrumMaster® with Scrum Alliance.

Susan Russell
Marketing Manager at Festivals Edinburgh

Susan spent fourteen years working across tourism roles and is currently the Marketing Manager at Festivals Edinburgh. The strategic umbrella organisation for the city’s major festivals, she leads on delivering major integrated campaigns promoting the Festival City within key domestic and international markets. Susan founded WIT, is a Chapter Leader for Travel Massive Edinburgh and sits on Edinburgh’s China Ready Steering Group.

Aileen Lamb
Tourism Manager at Scottish Enterprise

Aileen leads Scottish Enterprise's strategic support to the tourism industry focusing on destination development; data & digital tourism. Working with partners including the Scottish Tourism Alliance she is helping to create a positive environment for growth in the Scottish tourism economy.

Ian M Robertson
Consultant in People and Organisational Development, Strategy and Policy

Ian was a member of the winning team at the Local Transport Product Forge in May 2017 & has since mentored the CDD, ETIC and Public Health Product Forges. He began his graduate career working at QMU, and later moved to the Scottish Funding Council for Further and Higher Education where he worked in strategic planning and grant giving. Ian trained in evaluation with Manchester Institute of Innovation Research and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in People & Organisational Development from Roffey Park Institute.

Synden Grieve
Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise

Synden works as a Project Manager for Scottish Enterprise - working in several sectors at one time to deliver key economic development projects.

Dr Andy Bowles
Developer at The List Ltd.

Andy has been a Lead Developer at The List for six years having previously worked in start-ups, consultancies, multi-nationals and government organisations on a variety of IT projects. Main interests include semantic web, linked data and machine reasoning.

Nicola Farwell
Consumer CRM Data Analyst at VisitScotland

Nicola has worked in catering, retail, publishing, technology, and now tourism using data and insight to understand a customers need and create unique interactions. She uses the increasing volume of data organisation to improve relationships. Nicole believes strongly in the success and future of the direct marketing industry and sits on the Council of the Direct Marketing Association where she heads up the events team.

Allan Nelson
Director (For-Sight) at Forth Communication Ltd

Allan has a keen, entrepreneurial passion for technology and this has been central to his career since joining Forth Communication in 1998. He has a long history of innovating, spotting opportunities and bringing the right people into the business to deliver & sustain growth.

Media Partners & Data Providers


Roger Halliday
Chief Statistician at The Scottish Government

Roger Halliday started as Chief Statistician in November 2011, and Chief Data Officer in April 2017. Before that, he worked in the Department of Health in England as a policy analyst managing evidence for decision making across NHS issues. He qualified with a degree in statistics in 1993 from St. Andrews University and joined the Department of Social Security (as was) as an assistant statistician. His areas of expertise are around children, learning, skills and the economy, as well as in health.

Rob Lang
Head of Marketing at Edinburgh Airport

Rob graduated with a BA(Hons) in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde in 2000. He is a positive, forward thinking and highly commercial individual who goes to great lengths to ensure that he fully understands the categories he works with. Rob currently holds the position of Head of Marketing at Edinburgh Airport.

Polly Purvis
Chief Executive, ScotlandIS & Chair, CodeClan

Polly started her career with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group working in the City of London. Polly noe represents ScotlandIS on theScottish Government’s Digital Public Services, Advisory Board, the Digital Excellence Business Excellence Partnership, the ICT & Digital Technologies Skills Group, and the Industrial Advisory Board of the University of Dundee's School of Computing. She chairs the board of CodeClan, is a director of dotScot Registry, and a Trustee of the Digital Xtra Fund.

Tony Jobling
Data Analysis Manager for IntechnologyWiFi

Tony is currently the Data Analysis Manager for IntechnologyWiFi. A graduate in Data Processing, he has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years, originally as a software developer and then holding a range of managerial roles. The focus of his more recent career has been centered around Data and Analytics. Recently, he has worked on collaborative analytics projects in the Higher Education sector with JISC and HESA.


Event Team

Allan Lloyds
Managing Director, Product Forge

I'm the founder and managing director of Product Forge - Product Forge run competitive hackathons with a product focus. We nurture talent within Scotland’s digital technologies sector though inclusive open weekends as well as corporate events. The format is simple - pitch an idea, form a team, build a prototype. Our experienced teams make it a unique and engaging experience.

Alice Dréano
Projects Coordinator

I started to work for Product Forge in October 2016 as Project Coordinator. I am a French National and graduated from Pierre et Marie Curie - Sorbonne Université with a Master 1 in Molecular Biology and a Master 2 in Health Marketing. This led me to work in the Medical Devices Industry for one year as a Junior Product Manager before moving to Scotland in 2015. I am a passionate individual with strong interests for Literature and the protection of the environment.

Jakub Tansey

Born in Edinburgh. A Digital Media Global graduate with a passion for storytelling. Currently working as videographer at Product Forge.

Cristina Maireles
Events Coordinator

Cristina’s background is in marketing, designing and event organising within small and international companies. She is currently the Events Coordinator, however she joined Product Forge as the Marketing Assistant, being responsible for the communications before, during and after the events.


  • What if I can't start on Thursday evening or attend all of the event?
    While we highly recommend attending all of the event, we understand that due to dependents, work or other commitments this isn't possible for all of our participants. The first thing to note is that participants can start the event late, either on Friday morning or Friday evening - in fact, we keep registration open until Friday 5pm. When you register you'll be asked when you can start, and late starting participants are supported by the mentors in forming new teams or joining an existing team. If there are other parts of the event you are unable to attend, the most important thing is to communicate this to your team and the lead mentor at the event so they can plan accordingly. This is an especially important issue to raise during team formation. One of the most important days is Sunday, where we have pitch run-throughs. We do ask that if you want to present to the audience on Sunday evening, that you attend the whole of Sunday in order for the mentors to help you develop your presentation.
  • What is the situation with Intellectual Property (IP) at your events?
    We should stress that we are not lawyers or a law firm, and if you have concerns or specific issues, you should seek your own independent legal advice. However, neither Product Forge or our partners hold any IP rights to your project developed at the event, unless you have made a specific agreement to the contrary, and no such agreement is required to participate. The default situation is that you own what you build, and the default will hold true for almost all our participants; you will know if it doesn’t. It should be noted that ideas are presented in an open forum on Sunday, and given that ideas are not inherently protected (in the same way that your code, brand or other creative output is), you might consider this when deciding what to share at the event. That said, it’s our firm belief that projects are best developed in the open with external feedback, and most entrepreneurs err too much on the side of caution in this respect. With regard to IP issues within a team, one of the reasons we have strict limits on team sizes is that it is much easier to come to an agreement on IP after the event when there are a limited number of contributors. We can direct you to support after the event to help you with this. We strongly encourage project partners to release any data or source code that they are providing to our participants under an open source, commercially friendly licence (e.g. BSD/MIT, OGL, Creative Commons Attribution Only). Where this is not possible, there may be specific agreements required between you and our project partners to gain access to these resources, and such agreements may include clauses relating to your IP; however, you will not be required to access these resources in order to participate at the event.
  • What happens to projects after the event?
    That's entirely up to you - you own what you build, and it's up to you how you would like to see it taken forward, or not. However we hope that as many teams as possible will continue development of their projects, or pass them over to someone else to keep them going. We'll help you connect with support after the event, and in some cases our project partners can provide access to funding. In terms of what actually has happened after a Product Forge, in the past teams have gone on to secure funding for their concept, or worked with one of our partners as a collaboration. In some cases they haven't pursued their initial idea, but are continuing to work on other projects together. It's a common critisism of events like ours that whilst they are lots of fun, nothing long term comes out. We've demonstrated time and again that this isn't the case at Product Forge.
  • Why are you charging when other hackathons are free?
    Most hackathons run over 24 hours - ours last over three days and nights and the venue is kept open around the clock. Due to the costs of running an extended event and the problems of no-shows and drop-outs when providing complimentary tickets, we ask participants to pay a small cover charge to ensure they’re fully committed. Even on the basis of meals alone, we feel the tickets are more than value for money. Students can also apply for a concession of up to 80%, and in some circumstances, travel reimbursements can be provided. However, most people come to Product Forge to learn, or to prototype a new idea. At the end of the weekend you will have had hours of support and mentorship, and whatever you build is yours - neither Product Forge or our partners will hold any IP rights to your project.
  • Is Product Forge a hackathon?
    One of our past participants said that Product Forge was the “hackathon with a twist!” What did they mean by that? Whilst we incorporate many of the same elements of a hackathon as you’d expect - the intensity of the experience, developing a technical prototype - we also expect our participants to consider the business case behind what they’re building. This, in our opinion, is the essence of product development, and closer to the experience you would have working in a startup.
  • I am not technical, will I have anything to contribute?
    Yes, absoutely - Product Forge isn’t just about the developers! In fact, 50-60% of the participants at Product Forge are not technical, and are there instead to contribute business, design or other specialist knowledge. Whatever your background you’ll find something to contribute, and we’ll have mentors on hand to help you collaborate effectively with your team.
  • Do I need to have an idea to come to the event?
    No, not at all! We’ll be providing plenty of support and inspiration to get you thinking creatively, and ideas are developed as teams.
  • What if I already have a team, or what if I don't and I don't know anyone?
    Team formation happens at the event, and you don't need to know anyone else who is going. You'll quickly meet new people! Whilst you're welcome to attend the event with someone that you'd like to work with, we actively encourage participants to work with people they don't know. We also have strict guidelines on team size and teams need to have a balance of skills.
  • Is this only for students, am I too old?
    No! Product Forge is open to all, and whilst it used to be true that the majority of our participants were university undergraduates, this is no longer the case. Most participants at Product Forge are subject matter experts, freelancers and other professionals. Due to other commitments you may not want or be able to attend into the early hours like some of the student participants - that's completely understandable, and we just ask that you attend the team check-ins and communicate your availability to us and your team-mates.
  • What do I need to bring?
    We provide the food and drink, so all that is absolutely required is a laptop and lots of enthusiasm! If you're intending to stay late or sleep at the venue, please bring a sleeping bag, toiletries and a change of clothes. You may also want to consider bringing business cards and/or copies of your CV if you're hunting for work.
  • Do you have a code of conduct policy?
    Yes, [we have a code of conduct](http://productforge.io/code-of-conduct/) for which all attendees at our events are expected to abide by.



This is a past event and registration has now closed.



38 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH3 9DZ