Outlook 2012 “Innovation” Outtakes

Depending on whether you are a “back to front” or a “front to back” magazine reader, you are either a bit weary of our issue theme or I’m about to pique your curiosity. Either way, we invested a lot of this issue on the idea that these good times for the agriculture economy are the best time for you to take yourself out of the prosperity comfort zone and look for ways to innovate.

While a lot of ideas made the issue, there’s not room for them all. You’ll find additional coverage on CropLife.com as well as in future issues, because it’s a topic that’s critical for any ag business that’s interested in long term sustainability.

I’m going to use this space to share a few other thoughts on the topic. Dr. Dave Downey of Purdue University has been a friend of mine for as long as I’ve been working on this publication. And for at least that many years he has preached the need for retailers to look forward and innovate.

One of the exercises he advocates in the opening story of the issue is “scenario planning,” which he says is growing in popularity. The idea is to try to imagine how specific areas of your business could play out in a negative way, and to think about ways to innovate the business to deal with the scenarios.

I’m no business genius, but back in my time as associate director of the Cleveland Home and Flower Show we used to have something similar that we called “Pre Mortem” meetings. Similar but with a more immediate time frame to work with, we would use the Pre Mortem meeting, which could take the better part of a day, to go through the show event by event and feature by feature and imagine how every aspect of it could play out for the public once the show opened. It was an outstanding exercise and saved us a lot of heartache and showsite expenses.

Of course, you can’t feel bad if you don’t think of everything. One of our features, a model home giveaway, involved contestants receiving keys and trying them in the door one at a time, until one of the keys opened the house.

At the show we were reviewing everything just prior to the contest when I looked at the deck that people would be standing on to try their key. the deck was built with 1/2 inch spacing between the boards, just big enough for a dropped key to fall through and disappear. I quickly found the show decorator and ordered up some carpet.

Could have been a disaster, but finding the little issues along the way is a lot easier when you’ve gotten a handle on the big things.

In preparation for interviewing folks for the cover stories, I talked to futurist Jack Uldrich, who spoke at the InfoAg Conference last July. One of the analogies he likes to make is that of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Right up to Thanksgiving day, the turkey spends his whole life getting fed and cared for. With all of his needs met, he doesn’t have a care in the world. Then one morning, whack! He’s gone. Were there warning signs that could have signaled that a barborous end was near? Could he have pieced together clues as to what was coming if he’d looked ahead to the future? Or were the good times simply too good?

You have the time and resources to seriously consider the sustainability of your business now. Use them wisely!

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Paul SchrimpfWater: Keep Watching
December 12, 2015
Last year about this time — that is, late fall as we put the finishing touches on our editorial calendar Read More
Confluence of St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Minnesota
Paul SchrimpfRoads, Rivers, And Rail: Improving Infrastructure At Every Level For Agriculture
November 2, 2015
October is a wonderfully predictable month of naturally recurring cycles here at Meister. Our baseball team draws the curtain on Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Latest News
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More