Foresight on foods

Building the capacity of our leaders and organisations to anticipate and navigate change is a powerful path to a better future.

That’s why AGMARDT partnered with KPMG and the world’s leading futures organisation, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to bring its Foresight Essentials training programme to New Zealand’s food and fibre leaders.

Two workshops were held in June 2021 and May 2022 where a broad cross-section of food and fibre sector leaders gained a new toolkit – reading the present to inform ad create a better future.

The workshops were instigated by Ian Proudfoot, KPMG New Zealand’s Global Head of Agribusiness who’d been inspired after hearing an IFTF speaker at a Te Hono event in Stanford 2019.

“I was really excited by how relevant this would be to our governance and business leaders in New Zealand, giving them the tools and techniques to look at what is happening now, create plausible scenarios and think strategically about a future they want to be part of.”

Ian then worked with the IFTF Future Foods Lab to develop a tailored programme for New Zealand’s food and fibres sector.

“We were incredibly pleased when AGMARDT decided to come on board with funding support, meaning we were able to significantly reduce the cost per person. AGMARDT also sponsored several people to attend.”

The results have been game-changing for those who attended, he says.

“We know that attendees are already using these tools and techniques in their strategic thinking. And for us at KPMG, thinking about what’s happening now in terms of what it means for the future is enshrined in how we work. critical.

Another key aspect of the forum was bringing together people from across the sector in a real physical environment to undertake the programme – allowing the sparks of creativity to ignite.

“It was really important to us to have people together, face to face in a physical environment. We could have done it in May 2020 during COVID lockdown in a virtual environment, but it wouldn’t have created the deeper and richer of sharing and engagement.”

AGMARDT Trustee Justine Gilliland who attended the June 2021 event says it was a transformative opportunity, strongly aligned with AGMARDT’s strategic objectives.

“Our purpose is to ignite a better future for food and fibres through our investments and partnerships, through building the capacity of our leaders and through catalysing collaboration.

“The IFTF Foresight Essentials is strongly aligned with that on all level. It was an amazing opportunity to learn the skills of foresight that drive positive action for the future – and to do so working with a diverse group of people from across the sector.

“We don’t do that enough as a sector and when we do, the ideas and conversations are so much richer. It’s in combining people’s different insights that you get those real gems.”

For Belinda Price, former AGMARDT Leadership Scholar and Fonterra Dairywoman of the Year 2021, who represented AGMARDT at the second workshop in May 2022 – the experience was equally game-changing.

“From a dairy perspective, we’re always put in the same bowl. But we’re all food producers and need to tell our story together and protect the environment together.

“To be part of a roomful of people from across the sector with a diversity of experience and vision, looking at how to identify signals and build scenarios really expands your thinking and takes you outside your silo.”

It’s also empowering.

“Our sector is facing massive challenges,” says Belinda. “I walked into the workshop feeling worried about the future and came out feeling better.

“It changed my thinking through being able to take a step back and spend time collaboratively thinking about the future and find where the pathways are.

“Having the international flavour and feedback from the IFTF, also provides context about what’s happening in other countries and makes you think bigger.”

Justine says AGMARDT is keen to harness the experience of those who’ve completed Foresight Essentials to take it forward.

“Foresight is a cycle of activity. Things change and we need to keep this alive.”