I recently had the chance to visit with one of the “Farm Journal Online Peer groups.” The topic discussed was “The Interesting State of Data in Agriculture,” but what I found compelling was the format. To keep advancing #AgTech, I believe we must have more peer groups & masterminds in Agriculture to increase adoption levels.
Here are three takeaways from this experience:
- There is tremendous value in the virtual and interactive session. When discussing big ideas and visionary concepts, it is necessary to have video between the participants. There is something about having video between group members to gauge interest and sentiment. I always find myself much more engaged and focused if I’m looking at the people involved in the conversation. Furthermore, with tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, anyone with internet access can engage and participate. Webinars work for pushing info out, but if you want feedback, move to video. Adoption is seen much more than heard!
- Listen, don’t sell. I submit that problem-solving discussions need to include less selling and more time listening on the part of the presenter. In my 20-year career, I have spent my fair share of time selling solutions! That being said, I discovered from the Farm Journal Peer group that providing the framework for conversation and then facilitating discussions and answering questions without bias was far more effective than “selling.”
- Create a mastermind culture focused on answering the tough questions. Masterminds exist in many fields from CEO roundtables to tech start-up groups. I believe our industry needs more groups with diverse backgrounds having hard conversations about challenges/solutions. To do this, we need businesses and growers in the same conversation so that we can close the gap between technology applications and real-world use cases. These conversations need to be in smaller, trusted groups. A small trusted mastermind group is an entirely different feel than a conference speaker or panel forum. Most people won’t provide the needed feedback in that environment.
I encourage all of us to think about more peer groups and mastermind experiences to increase adoption levels. We must learn from one another and at a faster pace than other industries. Speed and efficiency are important because we may only get one chance per year to make certain decisions like what seed variety to plant or what week to sell yearling calves. Industry-wide, we need to:
- Track data and lessons that can be shared in trusted groups.
- Increase the number of peer group/mastermind (including business/growers) available in agriculture.
- Promote the sharing of “real” results allowing for validation of decisions
This subtle, but tactical concept can help bridge the divide between new products/solutions and grower business needs via sharing of best practices.
Nice work Farm Journal! To learn more about this program, click here.
Kevin Heikes – CoFounder of IN10T