Future Libraries Product Forge


A room full of talented designers, developers and entrepreneurs spending 3 days and 3 nights side by side developing new ideas, overcoming challenges and making new connections - sound good?

Professionals, students, graduates and freelancers are all welcome to join us for a sixth edition of Product Forge and this time we’re looking at the topic of libraries.

Libraries are evolving and responding to their user’s needs with e-lending, wifi and digital access, co-working and maker spaces. What ideas do you have for the library of the future?

Participants form small cross-functional teams to work on a product prototype over a weekend with support from industry experts at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council and the Carnegie UK Trust.

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

Participants recieve mentoring, 10 free meals and 24 hour access to the venue, and the top ranking teams can access support to develop their concept further. Register now for an unforgettable adventure!


Data providers


Martyn Evans
Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust

Martyn chaired the National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland Strategic Group which produced Scotland's first national strategy for public libraries. He also chairs the Advisory Group for Library Lab, a programme to support and develop innovation and leadership in the public library sector. Martyn has previously been Director of the Scottish Consumer Council, CEO of Citizens Advice Scotland, Director of Shelter and a visiting Professor of Law at Strathclyde University.

Pamela Tulloch
CEO, Scottish Libraries and Information Council

Pamela is responsible for providing independent advice to the Scottish Government on Library and Information Services across Scotland. Previous experience includes working with Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and Dundee City Council. Pamela currently sits on the British Library Advisory Board, Carnegie UK Trust Library Lab Advisory Group, University of Strathclyde’s Information Science Industrial Board, First Minister’s Reading Challenge Advisory Group and other library and information related alliances.

Gordon Hunt
Chair, Scottish Libraries and Information Council

Gordon is a Chartered Librarian and worked in libraries in Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford and Glasgow before a period at the National Library of Scotland. In 2008 he joined the University of the West of Scotland, for which he has worked in various roles including University Librarian and Campus Director (Ayr). He is currently Head of External Engagement with responsibility for partnerships, links with FE Colleges and alumni relationships.


Gina Wilson
Senior Project Officer at Carnegie UK Trust

Gina joined the Carnegie UK Trust in 2014,she currently focuses on the development of innovative practice and partnerships, with a particular focus on digital inclusion, enterprise and wellbeing. Gina volunteers within the criminal justice system and also serves as a member of the Children’s Panel, the largest legal tribunal in Scotland. She is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations(CIPR) and is usually to be found with a camera slung over her shoulder.

Gillian Daly
Head of Policy & Projects at SLIC

Since joining the team in 2007, Gillian has been the SLIC lead on digital initiatives and has managed a range of national digital library projects, as well as helping to shape policy and practice in this area. Gillian also chairs the Digital Champions in Libraries group, which has representatives from all 32 local authorities. Gillian previously worked in public libraries and school libraries in roles with a strong digital focus.


Rachel Nimmo
Digital Access at the National Library of Scotland

Rachel has been working at the National Library of Scotland since 2014 as part of their Digital team. Much of her work revolves around transforming and processing data to make their digital collections as accessible as they can. She has also recently been working with the creation of an interactive display for some of their Moving Image Archive films for their new facility in Glasgow. Rachel is passionate about the opening up of data to make it easier for the sharing, access and reuse of digital material.

Rory Gianni
Director & Creative Technologist at Tirami Limited

Rory is a freelance developer and creative technologist. He has worked with public sector organisations, start-ups, and universities, to help them take their early stage concepts to completion. Rory is passionate about sharing and advocating the advantages of digital technology, delivering training on programming, civic technology, and open data. Rory is a registered Open Data Institute (ODI) Open Data Trainer.

Aude Charillon
Library & Information Officer, Newcastle City Council

Aude started working at Newcastle Libraries in 2008, after completing a librarianship degree in France. In 2013 she became library & information officer for he Business & IP Centre Newcastle, managing the business collections and providing information and training relating to intellectual property to a small businessin the North-East. Aude is passionate about the role of libraries in facilitating access to information, knowledge and culture for members of the community.

Katie Lyne
CivTech® Manager

Katie is currently one of the CivTech® Pilot Managers within the Digital Public Services and Business Transformation Division of the Digital Directorate. She’s been with the pilot from the start and still loving every second. Katie comes with a background in marketing, events and leadership and is enthusiastic about the power of digital transformation and the benefits it can bring to the public sector. As with most of the team she can’t wait to see what fruits the CivTech® pilot will yield!

Steven Russell
Co-design Officer at Young Scot

Steve is a Product & Service Designer with a passion for all things creative. He is part of Young Scot’s co-design team, supporting young people in Scotland to realise, design and drive forward the changes they want to see to the services, products and policies that affect them.

Jaclyn Kaye
Proprietor at Armchair Books

Jaclyn is the co-owner of Armchair Books, a secondhand bookshop in Edinburgh's West Port. She previously worked as a public health researcher and on various digital projects in the public sector, but has since thrown it all away to spend her life balancing precariously on the top rung of a ladder, covered in antiquarian book dust. She comes down for meals.

Ben Seven
Co-founder at Kin, Founder of DeviceLab

Ben is a designer and developer, and co-founded design and web studio Kin. He also built DeviceLab, for the developer communities of Edinburgh — and beyond — to have better access to test their apps and web experiences on real devices.

Scott Seivwright
Transformation Lead & Lean Agile Coach at Clydesdale Bank

Scott thrives on embedding with organisations and globally distributed teams that are on a journey of change. His passion is leading people to improve organisations by using Agile ideas and re-organising for success in a challenging future. He works in new areas of software delivery and organisational redesign.

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.

Leah Lockhart
Digital Democratic Engagement Officer at The Democratic Society

Leah helps improve public services through person centered research and design. She's currently working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and is a core organiser of the OneTeamGov network in Scotland, a movement of reform through practical action.

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.

Michelle Caulfield
Events Coordinator

Events Coordinator for Product Forge. Irish born, moved to Edinburgh in 2016 after studying Event Management & PR in College.

Jakub Tansey

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

Anna Grant
Policy and Development Officer at Carnegie UK Trust

Anna is a Policy and Development Officer at the Carnegie UK Trust. She works within their Digital Futures and Fulfilling Work themes, focusing around digital inclusion and data privacy. Specifically Anna has been leading the day-to-day management of the #NotWithoutMe programme, to highlight the digital needs of vulnerable young people and challenge the assumption that all young people are ‘digital natives’. Prior to joining the Trust, Anna worked within the commercial and social enterprise sector.


  • 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