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Ian Potter, Vineland Research

"Being successful at innovation requires good and candid advice"

COVID-19 continues to dominate much of Canada's thinking and planning. Vineland has weathered the pandemic well, Mr. Ian Potter, President & CEO, writes in the new innovation report. "We are continuing to adapt to this ever-changing normal — a testament to our employees and their dedication to Vineland and our clients. As we continue to support the sector with critical research and innovation, we also need more than ever to remain focused on the longer term needs of tomorrow and into the future.

With a new strategic plan, a refocused innovation strategy and support from the provincial and federal governments, along with our many stakeholders, we are well positioned to maintain and grow this support to the sector."

"Even before the pandemic, it was evident the social, economic and environmental worlds were increasingly interconnected. As a result of COVID-19, our world today faces a heightened awareness for food security and an effective food supply chain. This presents more challenges and opportunities when the speed of change is more rapid and the pace of that change, almost instantaneous.

The implications for Vineland and the broader horticulture and agriculture sectors are profound and the need to think, learn, synthesize and act in a whole system manner has become more of an imperative. It is incumbent upon Vineland, as part of our normal business activities, to have the capacity to develop a whole system understanding to identify core issues and frame them in ways that enable effective action.

That capacity must include the ability to not just work across the horticulture sector, but also across other industries to bring together a network of outstanding thinkers and interconnect technologies and disciplines to help horticulture respond to opportunities and challenges it will face in the years ahead.

As a result, a significant part of our corporate and innovation planning is the constant need for broad-based current and future horticulture market intelligence to inform the direction and activities of our innovation programs.

Research and innovation are long-term commitments and we need to ensure that Vineland has effective program management principles embedded for effective short and long-term decision-making.

We have to be nimble enough to quickly respond to different external needs, rigorous with stopping or pausing an area when there’s insufficient impact and cognisant of the need to execute a portfolio of short to long-term projects. We also have to resource the work effectively and enable a sustainable future for both Vineland and the broader horticulture sector that we serve.

Getting good business intelligence and advice is a fundamental building block for any organization. In Vineland’s case, our founders had this in mind when they set up the governance support functions, and as a result, we are pleased to have two advisory councils to provide support to Vineland’s Board of Directors: the Innovation Advisory Council and the Stakeholder Advisory Council. These councils include national and international members providing advice and guidance from different areas of expertise than our board members.

Being successful at innovation requires good and candid advice. This report is only possible due to our engagement with our stakeholders and the advice we receive from our many volunteers on the Vineland advisory councils and beyond. My sincere thanks and appreciation is extended to all."

Find the complete Innovation Report here.

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