How to Encourage Innovation

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If you expect to grow the size of your farm in the next year, it’s a good idea to foster a culture of innovation.

That’s because innovation yields the solutions your customers are seeking. Moreover, companies that innovate do so because they are structured to think creatively, outpace the competition and bring big ideas to life, writes Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel, in a post for Inc.com

“Selling commodity products and differentiating solely on price is the beginning of a death spiral,” Greenblatt explains. “Reject the market strategy of low cost because there is always some firm that is willing to cut prices more, pay their people less, cut benefits more and skimp on quality.”

Tactics for innovation are numerous, but structure is a must. On your farm, that might include appointing individuals to oversee specific projects. Giving team members ownership of a project ensures they will see it through to the end and identify ways to improve along the way, Greenblatt says. 

Also think collaboratively. If your in-house mechanic generally doesn’t get involved in decisions about agronomic practices, consider ways to include him or her in discussions about a particular challenge, such as how to make planting more efficient next spring. “Multiple perspectives will shine productive insights that will generate breathtaking ideas that cannot be performed if all parties are in their own silo of accounting or marketing or engineering,” Greenblatt notes.

Be specific about problems your farm is facing so everyone has the opportunity to contribute ideas. Set big goals to get employees thinking about possible solutions, he says. 


 

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