A “Moonshot” for Australian agriculture!

Will adaptive innovation and integrated data networks create a “Moonshot!” for Australian agriculture? According to John Sculley’s book, “Moonshot!”, there are 4 components to success in today’s world:

  1. Cloud
  2. Wireless sensors
  3. Big data
  4. Mobile

I recently read John Sculley’s book, “Moonshot!” and have reviewed the key messages in context of the Australian agricultural supply chain. This blog post explores these key messages and provides some insight into the work AMC is exploring.

Sculley argues that leading businesses need to have these 4 components to be truly successful. Central to this is the power of the huge network effect available from a hyper-connected society of consumers and producers. This network effect is crucial for businesses to leverage a concept and generate true scale and influence.

The hyper-connected and informed consumer base has more power in today’s world than producers. For this reason, Sculley proposes that businesses require a strong consumer focus including business models, operations and systems.

With this in mind, how can agribusiness be consumer focused? Some of the core drivers of consumer habits in food and agribusiness include:

Welfare ● Safety ● Provenance ● Environment ● Nutrition ● Ethics ● Price

The network effect is not limited to consumers but also includes Machine 2 Machine (M2M) intelligence and learning. Machines are connecting at a rapid pace and there are many instances where machines are automatically learning and adapting without the need for human intervention. M2M and robotics have huge potential to advance productivity and efficiency in primary production and throughout the supply chain.

Sculley also describes Adaptive Innovators as the best leaders of businesses in today’s world. The best Adaptive Innovators redesign the customer experience and the customer delivery of that service. For agribusiness, each business and the entire supply chain, requires systemic design to develop an exceptional end-to-end system focused on the customer, taking into account the 4 components – cloud, wireless sensors, big data and mobile.

Cloud e.g. farm management software, real-time access to information and data

Wireless sensors e.g. networked sensors measuring real-time data on soil, nutrients, weather, water and the environment which will enable effective management and M2M communication

Big data e.g. collection of data from sensors that was previously unavailable, analysed and displayed in an informative manner to enable proactive decision-making and consumer empowerment

Mobile e.g. connect and inform the business, employees, suppliers, consumers and the community

It would be incredible to treat Australia’s water and irrigation network like a complicated municipal water utility. There is existing technology measuring and identifying inefficiencies within complex water networks using networked sensors and big data analytics. It is possible to apply this to agriculture!

Sculley explores the theory of aspiration, stating it’s often easier to make something 10x better than it is to make something 10% better, by using bravery and creativity instead of existing assumptions and tools. There are many areas this could be applied in agriculture. There is always a better way!

What would happen if the consumer was involved in cropping decisions / farm management? This is the ultimate in consumer empowerment and would not be without its challenges but wouldn’t it be interesting!

“THE PURPOSE OF A BUSINESS IS TO CREATE A CUSTOMER.” Primary production and the agricultural supply chain needs to be updated for customer controlled markets.

Sustainable value is an unrivalled customer experience, commanding domain expertise, your network effect, and how adaptive and innovative your business is in getting work done fast and frugally.”

I have attempted to illustrate the essence of the “Moonshot!” model as follows. Interpretation of the book can take several forms although this is how I have visualised the model for my purposes in agriculture.

Sculley, J, 2014. “Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses.” RosettaBooks, New York. www.johnsculley.com

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