Seed World

Unlocking Accelerated Innovation through Strategic Outsourcing

Chief Technology & Innovation Officer,
Activate Ag Labs

Shortly after graduating from the UEA with a degree in physics joined the R&D department at Germains Technology Group, who specialize in seed enhancement technologies. He spent two years investigating other industrial uses for seed treating equipment before moving across into seed coating polymers and application of biologicals to seed. During the nine years as a Research Scientist, he began a Master’s in Science through part-time study via the Open University, which was completed after having moved to the new position of Research Scientist at the Institute of Food Research, working on the DEFRA Link BBSRC project, Multiple Emulsions in Food. Simon has spent at least two decades formulating seed coating polymers which are effective in their attributes whilst maintaining products which have an environmental conscious content.

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In an era where technological progress unfolds at an unprecedented rate, it is essential for companies to adapt and embrace outsourcing as a catalyst for innovation. Reflect for a moment on the advent of the Walkman, the displacement of bank tellers by ATM machines, or the introduction of auto-steer tractors in your region. These notable advancements in technology were once synonymous with transformative experiences, tightly interwoven with specific stages of our lives. However, the landscape has dramatically evolved in the past decade. Technology has expanded exponentially, rendering even substantial individual innovations less earth-shattering than their predecessors. 

For companies striving to introduce novel ideas to the market, the sheer magnitude and velocity of technological advancement has intensified competition, resulting in many promising innovations being outpaced in the race to release into the market. Recognizing this reality, the most successful companies have come to a realization: they cannot solely drive innovation to market. To forge the path of innovation, surpassing competitors, companies must concentrate their energies on their core competencies while strategically outsourcing areas where they lack expertise or the necessary time.

Forward-thinking companies have discovered that leveraging external expertise is not only more efficient but also yields substantial cost benefits. Rather than merely boasting about their in-house capacity, industry leaders today are outsourcing a wide range of functions, spanning from HR and accounting to logistics. Embracing this shift, it becomes evident that drawing upon specialized technology experts, even in niche domains such as seed coating technologies, can prove to be a strategic advantage.

For instance, our organization fulfills two critical needs for our partners. Firstly, we offer comprehensive testing services, encompassing quality control, germination assessment, dust-off analysis, and flowability evaluation. By entrusting these tasks to us, our partners experience significant savings in terms of time, cost, and effort.

More significantly, we provide fully customizable projects tailored to our partners’ specific requirements. Our collaborative relationships extend to diverse entities, ranging from machinery manufacturers to biological formulators and pesticide companies. In each partnership, a company approaches us with an innovation at varying stages of market readiness, coupled with a distinct problem to solve. While these companies are distinguished as innovators in their respective fields, they may lack expertise in the intricacies of seed coating. As experts in this domain, we assume the role of solution finders, dedicated to resolving their challenges pertaining to seed coating formulations, including application techniques, efficacy optimization, regulatory considerations, and sustainable practices.

I wholeheartedly applaud the industry’s shift towards a more collaborative mindset. I firmly believe that embracing this approach will facilitate the swift delivery of innovation to the market, ultimately benefiting farmers and global production. By harnessing the power of strategic outsourcing, companies can unlock accelerated innovation, propel themselves ahead of the competition, and contribute to the continued advancement of the agricultural industry as a whole.