Home > cattle industry, Confusion, Just a Thought > What Ag Innovation is going to FAIL

What Ag Innovation is going to FAIL

oooooh, dooom!  glooom! AAAAAAAAH FAILURE!

Stick with me here. I’m going to share a though on why Ag Innovation is doomed to fail, and what twitter and other social media have to do with it.

There’s a lot of talk about the need to invest in innovation in Agriculture in recent months. Just google “Agriculture Innovation”. It was one of the questions when I was a CYL candidate, and it was brought up again for this year’s group.

But here’s the thing: Innovation, of any kind, is going to fail.

Now, I don’t fancy my self a true innovator. Or at least not yet. So maybe I should just keep my yap shut until I actually do something. But you see, I’m in the process of it. I think. As a student, I’m in the process of creating an innovative brand for myself that, hopefully, will land me a sweet job when/if I graduate (yes, some days I do wonder if I’ll ever get there, but that’s another story). And I don’t see enough of the conversation about innovation being realistic about the process. We’re sick with destination fever. So worried about where we’re going we’re forgetting about how we get there.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles @ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

School teaches us that there’s something horrid about being wrong. But in being innovative you’re not going to get it right on the first, second, third or maybe even 30th, try. And innovation requires that you try (fail) try (fail) try again. At least that’s what history’s and today’s innovators say. So I’m thinking they might know.

If we’re truly going to foster innovation in Ag, we need to give failing an big ol’ bear hug and get used to it. Yes, I’m saying accept failure. But never, ever ever ever, accept failure as “good enough” or as the end point and just leave it with “well, I tried”. That, my friend, would, ummmmm, well I can’t even think of how to describe that. It would just be bad, ok?

Part of failure is being ashamed of it. And shame is this really cool, interesting, curious thing. So get shame in that big ol’ bear hug too! Maybe that’s were social media comes in. It is a connection tool that’s rather instantaneous and worldwide. Putting out a tweet about how frustrating some failure is, and you get tweets back of understand and support. Maybe some connection will further your idea, help your innovation become more than an idea. Maybe social media is one of the ways we’ll get Ag Innovation from a hot topic into a wildfire. Or maybe it’s something the innovators out there might want to consider.

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  1. Mountain redneck.
    May 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Failure is part of the process. Something, in this industry, at the first sniff, more often than not wildly shunnes. Funny though how many people will proclaim to be risk adverse but own a fully exposed peice of a industry on par with the stock market. Fear of failure itself can be dibilitating to progress yet so difficult to overcome, so kudos to you, well said.

    Interesting perspective on shame?!

    • May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Mountain Redneck 😉
      I have to admit, I had a total face-palm moment explaining livestock to someone, who turned around and said “well, so you mean they operate like the stock market but a little more time sensitive because they have a living stock“. Funny how I can use the term every day but totally lost sight of the meaning. *smacks face*.

      • mountain redneck
        May 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

        I see a mother cow as equivalent to a equity option.
        When all else is equal price erosion will happend in a predictable fashion until she is sold or her value hits zero on her ultimate demise.
        Even more risk than a straight equity purchase.
        (some may not want to hear that)

      • May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

        Ack! You’re piquing the interest of my business mind. I totally agree with you about the value and investment risk issue. In response to your last comment I wanted to mention the recent increase (or perceived increase) in interest in insurance programs for smaller places that can’t absorb the loss in equity. I’m waaay over my head in that arena, and have no footing to comment on their relation to the risk. I just feel that there is a connection here.

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