Leading Rural Transformation session: Outlook 2018

by | Feb 26, 2018


Outlook 2018

Inovact’s Managing Director Brian Ramsay is chairing a key session on innovation by industry service organisations at the 2018 ABARES Outlook conference. The session is called ‘Leading Rural Transformation’ and will be held on 6 March at 4.00pm.

As a leader in the space of innovation for business associations and industry service organisations, Inovact Consulting has advised industry bodies at all stages of development from start-up to maturity. We have drawn on this experience to help design the Leading Rural Transformation session and look forward to presentations and audience interaction that help stimulate strategic thinking in a crucial area for modern agricultural industries.


Peak, R&D and NRM bodies are some of the most important service organisations that cluster around and create value for primary production businesses across Australia.

The session will ask whether peak, R&D and NRM bodies today are enabling or stifling innovation in agriculture. It will share practical insights and perspectives from change leaders on what’s working and what’s not with innovation by industry services bodies.

Each speaker will highlight the types of transformation that are already happening or are urgently needed within the services sector to lead and catalyse innovation in the agricultural sector.

Convenors: Brian Ramsay, Inovact Consulting and Rohan Nelson, ABARES.


When discussing innovation in agriculture the focus tends to be on technologies for producing commodities. Yet service organisations too are a valuable part of the innovation system. They provide capabilities and competencies to businesses across value chains and are often involved in co-producing innovation with them.

The Australian agriculture production sector is evolving rapidly as businesses strive to make sense of an increasingly complex world and become more resilient, more sustainable and more valued by customers, governments, and the community. Globalisation has transformed the modern production sector over the past two decades.

A key question now is whether the transformational change necessary for primary production businesses to remain competitive is being matched by transformation in the peak, R&D and NRM bodies set up to support innovation. Is the evidence showing that they’re enabling and accelerating innovation and outcomes, or are they losing relevance and dragging behind?

A risk is that the business models of some peak, R&D and NRM bodies have remained unchanged for many years, reducing their value to users and resulting in:

  • Falling membership and income by many industry peak bodies
  • Questions about the value for money of advocacy, R&D, marketing and community engagement services
  • Slow or failed reforms to adapt to changing user needs.

At the end of the day, a world-class production sector needs the support of world-class services.


Three speakers will provide a presentation and participate in a panel discussion. They include: Tom Maguire (General Manager, Teys Australia); Sheriden Morris (Chair, CRC for Developing Northern Australia) and Kate Andrews (CEO, NRM Australia).


ABARES Outlook 2018 

Get In Touch

P.O. Box 1312
Tuggeranong Delivery Centre
ACT 2901