Scanning for high impact innovations key to transforming Australian agriculture


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Technology driven disruptions are increasingly driving growth in rural industries. While Australian agriculture has a strong record in technology development and adoption, we need to proactively seek alternative sources of innovation and sift out the potential game-changers.

This is the focus of new foresighting work commissioned by AgriFutures Australia and developed by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). ‘Horizon Scan’ is a four-part series, highlighting a range of futuristic technologies, trends and innovations, each with the potential to transform rural industries.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said the scans seek out high-impact technologies overseas and in other sectors of the Australian economy with the potential to translate to the agricultural context.

“Some technologies identified have obvious applications, others need a little more imagination. For example, the scans identified moisture harvesting, metamaterials, personal analytics, solar retransmission and human-machine interface as potentially impactful emerging technologies,” said Mr Harvey.

“We want businesses and researchers to look to other sectors to understand their use of technology and use the scans to start a conversation. If we are to compete on the world stage, we need to open our eyes to what is possible and embrace these opportunities.”

QUT have developed the novel foresight methodology for identifying and decontextualising emerging technologies, led by QUT Senior Lecturer in Ecology, Dr Grant Hamilton.

“Given the many avenues in which new technologies can emerge, building foresighting capability with which to identify the most impactful innovations is essential for participants right along the supply chain. It is critical to informing future scenario planning as well as supporting industries to maintain a competitive edge,” said Dr Hamilton.

“We know new technologies have the potential to expand existing markets as well as create entirely new ones.  Early identification of emerging technologies enables individuals, businesses and industries to turn a potential disruption into a new business opportunity.”

AgriFutures Australia is committed to continuing to scout for new technologies and innovations, additional fact sheets will be added to the Horizon Scan series in 2018 and early 2019.

The Horizon Scan series is funded by the AgriFutures™ National Rural Issues program which forms part of the AgriFutures Australia National Challenges and Opportunities arena. 

Horizon Scan series

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