The annual Google search report for 2020 revealed that people asked "why?" questions more than ever before, as they searched Google for answers to all types of questions. So we thought which "why?" question should we ask for agriculture to move into the New Year.
This Keep agile Keep farming episode transitions into 2021 featuring Gwen, some of her long-term pet topics and some of her take home messages from the Women in Food and Agriculture Festival 2020 that she attended in early December.
At the Women in Food and Agriculture summit Jack Bobo demonstrated that the next 30 years are the most important in the history and future of agriculture. But how can we go the extra mile and make the next 30 years exceptional in agriculture? Collaborating for agility, diversity and sustainability could help catalyze the progress we can make.
Embracing the concept of agility
During a dark period of her life around 13 years ago, Gwen did a lot of research on herself, but also on change and how to manage change. At the time change happened to her and the biggest question of course was how do I respond to it? Doing all this research she came across a definition of "agility" which intrigued her. It said that agility is all about adapting quickly and appropriately to change and also to be prepared for the unexpected. She embraced the concept because it had relevance to the motto of her personal brand "develop and change to win" and to improving her personal situation.
Gwen could also see how important agility is to agriculture. Farmers live with a great deal of uncertainty at the best of times, but climate change and rapidly changing consumer demands have brought uncertainty in agriculture to a whole new level. This means that to be able to survive you have to be able to adapt quickly.
Why collaborate for agility, diversity and sustainability?
Effective collaboration requires that different people with different perspectives and skill sets work together to achieve a goal. So an emphasis on collaboration can help to pre-program diversity into agriculture. Collaboration also preempts that everybody is working from the same page and there is a common understanding of what is to be achieved. When it comes to concepts like agility and sustainability there is still a lack of common understanding of what that actually means to agriculture. Many claim to be working on sustainability, but how can we really measure progress, if it means different things to different people. If we are willing to collaborate with others, including the consumer we also have a common understanding of the progress that is made.
Of course if we have diverse people collaborating together, progress can be made faster. Especially if we embrace disruptors into collaboration, we can adapt to change more quickly and become more agile. It can also provide a sense of community, that helps us find support from others to stick to our goals, make us more open to new entrants and therefore also more attractive to diverse talent. Collaboration for agility, diversity and sustainability is key to stay competitive in agriculture, the ability to feed a growing world population and adapt successfully to the unexpected in the years to come.
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