THE STATE OF DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE
"Disruptive innovation is the underdog's way of “beating” the market leaders.”
You may see a new tech gadget every day, but it doesn't reflect the sad state of Disruptive Innovation and its continuous decline.
Don’t get me wrong; there is Innovation in the world and agriculture, but not the kind we need when dealing with many of our key National and Global Challenges.
THE THREE INNOVATION TYPES
Most of the Innovation we encounter is of two types:
Sustainable Innovation – which improves available products and services.
Efficiency innovation – which lowers the cost of already available products and services.
These types of Innovation are not “reality changers” though they can make reality “nicer.”
Moreover, those types of Innovation don't add jobs to the economy; Sustainable Innovation sustains the number of jobs, while Efficiency Innovation reduces jobs.
This is against the need, benefit, and interest of developing economies and the vast agro sector they contain.
Then there is a third type of Innovation, Disruptive Innovation.
Hear this: Disruptive Innovation is the only type of Innovation that creates new jobs and enables rapid income and export growth.
What Is Disruptive Innovation?
“Disruptive Innovation refers to the Innovation that transforms expensive or highly sophisticated products or services—previously accessible to a high-end or more-skilled segment of consumers—to those that are more affordable and accessible to a broader population. This transformation disrupts the market by displacing long-standing, established competitors.” source.
Core requirements for Disruptive Innovation include, among others:
(A) Innovative business model
(B) Enabling technology, and
(C) Coherent value network where upstream and downstream business partners benefit from a successful disruption.
INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE?
Is there Disruptive Innovation in agriculture, or could it be that there are mostly "improvements" and "efficiency" types of Innovations, or maybe only “smoke and mirrors”?
Think of the last time you attended an agro exhibition or conference and what people presented as Disruptive Innovation!?
It probably related to one of the topics listed below, mainly when they used the most bombastic superlatives to describe their "Innovative Disruptive Technologies." Did they remember saying that they merely improve EXISTING technologies and that the most recent is 50 years old (commercial use):
· Pesticide - 2000 B.C.
· Chemical Fertilizers - 19th century
· Tractors - 19th century
· Synthetic Pesticides - 1940s
· Sterile Insect Technique - 1950
· Pheromone - 1950s
· Drip Irrigation - 1959
· Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) - 1973
Is improving how pesticides are applied, e.g., drones or automated tractors, disruptive in a way that will solve the agro sector problems in developing economies?
Of course not!
Maybe the top 1% of wealthy professional farmers would buy and use those, but it would have zero impact on the remaining 99% of farmers.
Worldwide, more farmers use cell phones than drip irrigation, pheromones, tractors, and GMOs. So, can we call those technologies - “disruptive innovations”?
Oh, and there is one other thing, none of the above technological solutions meet the criteria of Disruptive Innovation definition (see above).
WHY ARE THOSE “BAD NEWS”?
Charismatic speakers and well-designed presentations in air-conditioned rooms, or fat bonuses to managers for increasing sales of “new-old” products and services, wouldn't solve any global agriculture problems facing the world. The same goes for the "more of the same" technological and subsidy solutions.
On the other hand, what can save us is what we desperately need but is diminishing – Disruptive Innovation supported by disruptive science.
You know those marketing people who shout out loud about their "disruptive technology"!?
Look again at the requirements for Disruptive Innovation; it requires “technology,” while “innovation” is mentioned only regarding the business model.
Here is a hint of how to detect those which DO NOT offer Disruptive Innovation solutions.
If they start by telling you – “Here is my disruptive technology/service solution. Buy it for XXX$, and it will change your life forever” - then you know it is not disruptive.
Why is it not disruptive???
Because this salesman just offered you the oldest and most common business model in history, I provide you with technology/service, and in return, you pay me NOW.
The above business model is not innovative in any manner. It protects and favors the seller, not the buyer (the farmer); in the long term, it hurts and diminishes the entire value chain.
Hence, regardless of technological advancement, it can’t be defined as Disruptive Innovation. Understood!?
WALK THE TALK
I have been part of the agriculture and agrotech industries for over 40 years, and for most of the years, I was sure, like many others, that “everything is technology."
However, the moment I realized that the cure and the solutions to the world's biggest agriculture challenges and the most outstanding business opportunities require disruptive Innovation – I instantly began acting accordingly.
1) Business - I established a company named Dream Valley which -
(A) Developed an innovative, disruptive business model (by the name Dream Valley) and
(B) Uses an enabling (game-changing) technology called Freedome (developed by Biofeed, a company I founded to develop and produce 21st-century zero-spray crop protection solutions), and
(C) Take care of the entire value chain, where the company is paid after selling the produce. This way, it shares risks and responsibilities with the farmers.
2) Spreading the word – I’m broadly presenting, explaining, describing in writing, and discussing the topic of disruptive approach everywhere possible, including this moment. I welcome suggestions for additional activities.
3) Community - Proudly, I serve as the Co-founder and Chairman of the most game-changing agro-conference, The International Conference On Business Models In Agriculture 2023 (IBMA).
Every leader and decision-maker in developing countries can continue investing more money in technologies and hope that this year and another $ million or $ billion will change what hasn't changed in the past fifty years.
I say this respectfully, as "hope” is something I do not underestimate.
But those leaders and decision-makers can also choose to get up tomorrow morning and announce,
“We can't change the past, but we can ensure the future of our people is better. We should invest based on business models rather than only based on how fancy the technology is. We must ensure that 20 years into the future, our children will have better livelihoods and live in a country with a developed economy. With what we do now, we create a better future and a legacy they would be happy and proud to share.“
Without changing existing concepts, without introducing Disruptive Innovation, the future of developing countries and their farmers looks bleak, while poverty will persist.
With Disruptive Innovation, the path to a better future life of small hold farmers in developing countries is far more secure, as everybody can regain hope and understand the roadmap to a prosperous future.
If the above results-oriented visionary approach to the agro sector is tuned with your business attitude and legacy plans, don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your potential role; investor, business partner, value chain partner, supporter, etc. Contact me at +972-542523425 WhatsApp.
Ø THERE IS A SHARP decline in the number of disruptive innovations
Ø INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODELS are an essential requirement element for Disruptive Innovation.
Ø INVESTORS will benefit by investing less in innovative technologies and more in innovative business models.
Ø THE BEST AGRO BUSINESS opportunities are in innovative business models.
* If you enjoyed the column, share it with friends/colleagues and share your insights with me.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE WEEKEND COLUMN.
*** Mental and Economic Freedom Are Interconnected. ***
See you soon,
Text me: at +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or email email@example.com
If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, "Should Moral Considerations Be Part of Agro-Business [and Why I Don’t Sell Technologies]?"
Link to recent columns.
Start-Up Nation Central welcomes delegation of UN ambassadors for Israeli Innovation (The Jerusalem Post)
The IBMA conference provides the stage to share your experience with agriculture business models and learn from others.
Dream Valley is a field-proven disruptive business model based on the successful Israeli model. Contact me if you view yourself as a potential investor, business partner, or client. Email, +972-542523425 (WhatsApp/Text)
Please look at the video series “The Agricultural Gap." I explain the historical roots of the agricultural gap between African and Western countries with short videos.
I see this video series as "uncompleted," as I am waiting to gain more confidence before completing the chapters with The Solution, as I perceive it.
If you like it, share it with those who need to see it and Subscribe.
Change Begins With A Decision
That The Existing Reality Is A Choice
And Not A Decree of Fate