Set up to mirror the events of TED Global, FED brought together a group of thinkers, researchers and professional practitioners from a variety of backgrounds across Scotland, as a homegrown alternative to the massively expensive TED model.

I popped along to Inspace at Edinburgh University, made myself reasonably comfortable and waited for the magic to begin …

First up to speak was Robin McAlpine, setting the tone for the rest of the day with a sit-down-chat, as if the audience had simply appeared in his living room – he was brilliant.

Robin talked of the importance of narrative in growing ideas, citizen based thinking and flying to the moon in hot air balloons. He voiced many thoughts similar to those in the heads of the Snooksters; that ideas need to be thought through – cradle to grave, and that “doing nothing is not an option”. We are doers as well as thinkers.

Kevin Williamson followed suit with a talk around transformative power in direct democracy and technology. Ken’s ideas are technologically possible now, right now, it’s the level of trust and understanding that he feels will need a good 10 years to accumulate. I was excited to see the next stage of Ken’s plans, to get involved with prototyping them – creating mockups and taking them to the streets – they are ideas with a great amount of mileage.

Jim and Margaret presented a joined vision for the future of Scotland, by posing 5 questions key to Scotland’s progress. These questions and their respective discussions centered in on economic changes, greater use and understanding of resources, that the idea of independence is possible – but the road there is still undefined and the implications of a sovereign debt crisis.

I’ve never met Jim and Margaret before, but I’d like the rest of Snook to get to know them and their work – the confidence and ease at which they speak of such issues shows an immense knowledge. I’d love to see a discussion with Snook, designing steps to take to make these ideas a reality.

We had a brief interlude, with poems by Elspeth Murray (who’s site I have been dipping into all afternoon) – lovely.

Kevan Shaw – a lighting designer talked about many things that I did not understand. As well as this, he spoke of the problematic replacement of filament light bulbs with energy efficient ones, as the factories producing them cannot work to a sustainable capacity, the “best way to save light energy is to switch your lights off” and a great part of light pollution in the UK comes from poorly considered street lighting, which reflects too much light upwards. He also spoke of mercury imports, profit margins and low-hanging fruit – one day I will know why!

Tom Kane taught us, rather importantly, that all good ideas are not necessarily new ideas. We can, and probably should, consider ideas from the past. This sparked many similarities with Snook’s thinking around the Scottish Enlightenment, and sent me looking up names such as Robert Owen and Patrick Geddes. Thanks Tom!

FED presented a variety of thinking and questions around ideas for and in Scotland – there was a really enjoyable feeling in the room, as the thunder rolled around us and the rain clattered off the windows. Discussions were furthered with interesting questions expanding the original thoughts and ideas. The fact that the event organisers chose the tagline ‘Ideas to sustain’ intrigued me – I came along hoping to hear of ideas new, growing and established – I wanted to pitch-in and talk of ways of making these ideas sustainable.

I believe that Snook have a valuable place to play in these next steps. We want to use design to test these ideas, prototype them and understand the distance that they can go to. I think that Global Sustainability Jam would be an excellent opportunity to get a brilliant group of minds together from all different disciplines around Scotland – and begin to road-test some of he ideas presented this weekend.

I’m going to make it happen.