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The days when innovation was the sole responsibility of the chief innovation officer or corporate venturing group are over. Today companies are realizing they need to harness the innovative power of all their employees if they want to grow.

I recently got a chance to interview Gary Hamel, world-renowned innovation expert and author of innumerable books including Leading the Revolution and What Matters Now. He offers six rules he believes your company must address if you really want to unleash the innovative potential of your people:

The only way to encourage people to search for breakthrough ideas is by setting expectations that require breakthrough thinking.

Instead, adopt a more flexible definition of the business you are in. Define yourself by a competency. Amazon, for example, isn’t in the retailing business. CEO Jeff Bezos once said “there is no physical analog to what Amazon.com is becoming.”

Rather than be in the business of being a business, as too many are, focus on a cause. Tesla is not out to sell electric cars but rather to solve the word’s energy problem. If your cause is clear you’ll do a better job of attracting and retaining revolutionaries, innovators, outthinkers.

Your company is wasting talent because your best and brightest people are being prevented from participating in the more innovative and risky projects. They fear the career risk of taking on a high-potential idea. Their managers don’t tell them about the new, juicy projects. You have to enable great talent to find great projects.

Related to the talent market is the fact that the risk of trying unconventional ideas is too high. Your company is probably designed to make big bets on full business plans. Instead they need to make small bets on lots of low-risk tests. They need to adopt lean startup approaches as we are seeing GE and a few other forward-thinking companies starting to do.

Your company’s top-down budgeting process is ineffective. It prevents capital from finding the highest return opportunities. Let capital go to building prototypes and testing unconventional ideas.

Put these rules together and we start to see a very different kind of corporation: a less structured organization and more of an agile, dynamic marketplace where talent and capital find each other to conquer bold missions through experimentation.

Photo credit: Flickr user Bert Heymans

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?