A large organisation or industry provides scale, but not necessarily performance. How often do we see nimble, focused and faster firms, industries and nations leave others in their wake? There is much to learn from innovators that are adapting faster than others.
The developing Agritech industry in Australia is a topical example. A recent joint project by the United States Studies Centre and LinkedIn used social network analysis to examine how the Australian industry is tracking relative to New Zealand (NZ) and the US.
Their report found that while New Zealand is smaller than Australia by practically every measure, the New Zealand Agritech network is more cohesive, more interconnected, and has as many total connections to world-leading networks in the US as the Australian Agritech network.
The NZ Agritech ecosystem is more developed than Australia’s, with network data supporting perceptions that the smaller country is years ahead. The higher performance in NZ has been achieved despite both countries having similarly strong agricultural reputations, world class research facilities and access to global markets.
One of the main points of difference is that NZ Agritech businesses innovated by forming a new industry organisation – Agritech New Zealand. Their industry body has since worked to connect everyone in New Zealand’s AgriTech ecosystem and to promote and scale the sector globally. There is now a whole of government prioritisation of Agritech in New Zealand.
The insight is that NZ businesses have acted to positively influence the trajectory of their industry by working across business, research and government.
As businesses grapple with intense competition and change, world class industry organisations are more important than ever.
Unfortunately, many industry services organisations in Australian agriculture are still operating with 20th Century business models that were designed for a different era. Rather than providing platforms for accelerating innovation, they act more like industry handbrakes.
Savvy businesses know that a world class industry body can tilt the odds in their favour. The Australian Agritech Association has just been formed, signalling industry acceleration ahead.