Globally, food and agribusiness businesses are facing technological disruptions across their operations. The current industry climate is seeing technology rapidly evolving, meaning businesses are increasingly pressured to remain updated or lose market competitiveness. This is particularly important to Australian industry, as other countries continue to innovate, Australia must follow, if not lead, to remain internationally competitive.
The Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum on 15-16 November, educated participants on technological disruptions to the food and agribusiness industry, and what this means for its current and future direction. Hosted by NORTH Link and La Trobe Business School, the two day forum equipped participants with the necessary knowledge to remain internationally competitive.
Located on La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, attendees listened to key note speakers from industry and Government, attended panels and took part in masterclasses. These activities exposed attendees to several topics that ranged from changing consumer demands and the power of data analytics to innovative business models and the future of robotics and AI.
Attendees were treated to a key note speaker that’s pioneered and innovated in the agribusiness space. Chairman of CANN Group Allan McCallum, was involved in the first licensed/permitted grower of medicinal cannabis in Australia. Allan’s success has come off the back of several previous agribusinesses he’s nurtured to global success. Allan’s speech made example of and explained how leveraging disruptive technology can elevate your business to an industry leader standard. Despite a period of rapid technological disruption, Allan elevated the CANN group from start-up to an ASX listed company. He explained that although the business has grown into a world-class supplier to the emerging medical cannabis industry, it was not without major road bumps along the way.
Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Mark Stone, spoke to attendees about the necessity to continue innovating. On top of being awarded an Order of Australia in 2016, Mark is also a director on the board of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). Mark spoke about innovations never ending room for improvement, making example of the many challenges faced through technology adoption, international consumer preferences, R&D funding and skill gaps. He highlighted that businesses must always be searching for ways to improve.
Attendees had the option to sign up to one of three masterclasses across the forum. The Data and Analytics for Food and Agribusiness masterclass, discussed how digital technologies and supply chains create opportunities to utilise data for the benefit to industry. The masterclass was facilitated by Associate Professor Kok-Leong Ong, who is the program director for La Trobe Business School’s suite of Business Analytics courses.
Disruptive Lean Business Model Design, was the basis behind another masterclass that gave insight into the exploration and exploitation into disruptive innovation. Participants discovered opportunities that the Lean Start Up business model can have for not only start-ups but also well established organisations. Dynamic organisations can transform their operation methods, customer solutions and value propositions to achieve growth. Dr Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship at La Trobe Business School, facelifted the masterclass and utilised his knowledge from more than a decade in executive roles at multinational companies.
Participants at the Industry 4.0 for Agribusiness masterclass were provided with an overview on how advanced technology is transforming Agribusinesses. The masterclass contextualised the session by drawing on case studies from small and large organisations. Next generation production equipment and automated tractors were exemplified as ways new technologies are empowering farms now, and into the future. Director and Research Professor at La Trobe’s Centre for Technology Aniruddha Desai, conducted the masterclass, applying his specialist knowledge in electronics and computer science to proceedings.
Many participants in attendance over the course of the two days expressed their optimism for Australia’s future industry. By attending several talks from key notes and other speakers, followed by masterclasses and a discussion panel, participants were given a much needed update on the industry’s direction. Not only were they given an overview to technological disruptions in industry, participants were also given the knowledge and skills to assist in planning and apply innovation to their food or agribusiness business.
NORTH Link has been funded to deliver a North West Melbourne Data Analytics Hub, which will help local businesses understand what data analytics can do for their business. For further information, please contact NORTH Link Executive Director Chris James, on email@example.com.