Strategic Perspectives on Innovation in Agrifood Supply Chains: Profitability, Sustainability, and Global Change

    The workshop provides strategic perspectives on innovation in agrifood supply chains. The essence of the event is to consider together in-depth the ways in which agrifood businesses create innovations in products, systems, and technologies, and then as entrepreneurs design supply chains in creative ways to implement those innovations in the market.  

    The participants will get three key takeaways with deeper insight and rich practical case study information on: (1) how leading firms innovate in products, systems, and technologies; (2) how the firms then design supply chains to procure inputs and services for or to market products arising from their innovations; (3) how the opportunities and challenges for innovation in supply chains are conditioned by being in the mature markets of US and Europe versus the extremely rapidly changing market situations of Emerging Market regions, and by changes in policies and regulations that are now happening blindingly fast.

    We will start with the strategic concepts of this process, and examine the market context in which innovations are implemented. That context for the workshop includes both “mature markets” such as the US and Europe, and rapidly transforming “emerging markets” in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. We will then move along the supply chain segments from downstream and midstream, in the retail/food service, wholesale, and processing segments, to upstream in the farm/agribusiness and input/technology/service segments. These cases take us through a wide cross-section of products (grains, horticulture, livestock, fish and seafood sectors, chocolate, and so on). 

    We emphasize a variety of exciting new technologies that are starting to affect supply chains. They include: (i) new biotechnologies including CRISPR, (ii) robotics, and (iii) technologies that improve input use efficiency of natural resources. We will also have a panel on innovations in water use efficiency, including drip irrigation, desalination, recycling, and other conservation techniques from multiple perspectives.

    We will conclude with a close look at the “new order” of regulations and policies that are emerging and how these will provide opportunities and challenges to the innovation process. 

    Each session involves first off talks by leaders on exciting innovations in supply chain design and the innovations in products and technologies that the chains deliver; we will surround those talks with presentations by facilitators and observers of these innovations. We will then, as a group, discuss the cases and issues in-depth and draw out their strategic implications for businesses and policymakers. 

    The event is in collaboration with Germany’s Food Industry Association (Die Lebensmittelwirtschaft), Giannini Foundation, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, Mars, Inc., and Solidaridad.

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