The times are a changin’
January 7, 2019
Value from Ag-Science & AgTech
January 7, 2019

Science, Agriculture, Innovation & Value


Our experience is confronting – we’re scientists and science enablers with a goal: seeing good inventions or ideas deliver profitable results in food, fibre and biotech industries. Yet so many innovative ideas are left unexploited by simple miss steps and poor design. Design, isn’t that part of good due process? Well, yes…obvious, right?

Ag-innovation must design and deliver a compelling value proposition. The winners that we observe have two characteristics. They:

  1. Identify a unique yet often difficult market opportunity – a problem whereby a solution adds value.
  2. Execute on the opportunity through capabilities engineered to deliver value via a competitive advantage.

Timing and positioning matter. Some excel in the short-term but most take years to achieve market penetration and scale, while much innovation produces nothing by poorly addressing 1. There is no secret sauce. Let’s look at precision (‘decision’) agriculture.

Precision Agriculture is the parent to so much of what we see in the current AgTech conversation. But in Australia, PA took more than 10 years to deliver significant industry impact. Price point, user experience and perceived return were key.

To deliver valuable innovation, as a start-up or scientist:

  • Understand the problem: how big is it – what does it cost your customer? how many businesses does it impact? can you deliver a sustainable solution?
  • Design and communicate a value proposition by engaging with customers: what matters to them, and why? does your solution deliver value that they can grasp? what’s the return on investment above status quo for the customer when considered against system or other behaviour changes? how much will they pay?
  • Deliver your products by working with customers to fit their system: how can you make it easy for a customer to engage and buy into your solution?

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