Abstract for oral presentation at NJF SEMINAR 502 Advances and Innovations in Agricultural Engineering. The 3rd NJF – Agromek- EurAgEng joint seminar Nov. 27 – 28, 2018 in Herning, Denmark




Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12B A26, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland

Keywords: Innovation, Agriculture, User-Centered Design, Multi-Actor Approach

            Innovation in agriculture often stops at the adoption phase. According to recent research, new products or services are not adopted because of their poor usability or the users mistrust in new technology. Usability issues arise when designers have inadequate understanding of the use-context. Mistrust originates from bad experiences using the new technologies.

            How to overcome these obstacles of swift innovation? The presentation concludes results from two research projects on agricultural innovations: the OECD Joint Research Program research ´Speeding up innovation in agriculture´ (2011-2012) and EU HORIZON2020 project ´AgriSpin´ (2015-2017). Based on these, recommendations on how to speed up the innovation process are given.

            The OECD-funded research ´Speeding up innovations in agriculture´ was done as a web-based questionnaire and personal interviews of selected experts. The results pointed out the most important hinders. Poor adoption includes mainly problems in acceptability. Farmers also face problems in integrating the new technologies in the existing systems at the farm level. They tend to have mistrust on new technology as a whole. A recommendation was made that the education of engineers, designers, marketers and end-users of new technologies need to include more user-centered elements. They also need to interact better during the RDI process. User-Centered Design (UCD) was promoted.

            ´AgriSpin´ was a forerunner of Multi-Actor Approach in HORIZON2020. The Cross Visit Methodology including thorough analysis of 50 innovation cases in Europe was applied and improved during the project. The Spiral of Innovation was used to illustrate the cases and to communicate them to wider audience. Pearls, Puzzlings and Proposals were reported for each case in Final Symposiums where relevant stakeholders were informed about the findings and challenged for developing the local innovation environment of agriculture. Conclusions include that agricultural innovations, although technological in nature, are developed, realized, disseminated and embedded through a social process. This process should be understood better to be able to support it correctly. A recommendation was made that the Multi-Actor Approach should be used since the application environment is complex.

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