As primary industry businesses innovate rapidly and strive to be competitive on the global stage, somehow we have forgotten to demand that the associated industry services bodies are held to the same standard.
Industry service bodies are the organisations that are doing what can’t easily be done by individual businesses working alone: such as industry R&D and advocacy.
So are industry service bodies performing as world class accelerants for industry success? Or are they like anchors or handbrakes on progress?
These issues were explored at a packed session on Leading Rural Transformation that was Co-Chaired by Brian Ramsay at the ABARES Outlook conference on 6 March 2018.
The audience heard from speakers that primary industry businesses and industries have changed profoundly in the past two decades, yet too often industry service organisations have remained largely unchanged.
For example, declining membership has created the phenomenon of unrepresentative peak industry bodies. They have not innovated nearly as fast as the industries they serve and most businesses have chosen to opt out with their support and their money.
Even when leaders have set out to transform outdated businesses models, all too often the outcome has been the status quo or incremental improvement.
Of course, it does not have to be this way. The opportunity is for representative bodies to lead by example when it comes to innovation and performance.
Innovation is certainly achievable for disruptive leaders who are determined to create dramatic value for the majority of industry businesses and the majority of production.