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Innovation Lab Melbourne: How Agritech and innovation can accelerate growth

Innovation Lab Melbourne: How Agritech and innovation can accelerate growth

Throughout May and into June Victorian businesses have the chance to benefit from our latest pop-up innovation lab in the heart of Melbourne.

The lab allows business customers to experience first-hand this cutting edge space in a location convenient to them.

Visitors to the pop-up can learn about our innovation process and use the latest technology, such as eye-tracking devices to improve their website’s UX, our interactive data wall and virtual reality headsets, to help solve their specific business problems.

The lab will also be the venue for a series of client events and thought leadership forums in coming weeks designed to help companies implement innovation and unlock their business’ potential.

“There is so much talk about innovation right now - it is creating a real buzz and positive wave of energy” says Darryl Mohr, General Manager of Regional and Agribusiness Banking in Victoria and Tasmania. That’s why our first client event explored how technology and innovation can accelerate growth in the regional and agribusiness sectors.

The chase to feed the world

Geoff Wearne, Executive General Manager of Regional and Agribusiness Banking, says that in the chase to feed the world, investment dollars are flowing into areas like drones, robotics and heat sensor cameras.

Innovation is very much an enabler to improve productivity and lower input costs, the biggest challenges people are facing. Also top of mind is how to tap into new markets.

Smarter connected regional centres

John O’Callaghan, an urban planner specialising in community engagement and improving regional centres, spoke about technology making a difference in places like Whitton in New South Wales’ Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Tired of hauling their cotton 400 kilometres for processing, six growers, now the directors of Southern Cotton, took up the challenge to build their own gin. As a leader in cotton ginning, Southern Cotton's focus is on ginning innovation and advanced technology in quality measurement, processing and data traceability from the paddock to ensure maximum crop yield and help growers learn more about their crop and aid in farm management decisions.

Southern Cotton has been instrumental in the growth of the cotton industryin the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, and is now pouring money back into the community via the gold coins it collects from visitors touring the gin. It donated these to Can Assist on the same day that it split the proceeds of its $5,000 prize for winning a state business award among six Leeton shire charities and organisations that were nominated by the growers. It also employs more than 40 seasonal workers and 11 full-time staff.

“Our culture is change, change, change”

Innovation is open to everyone. It does not always have to be a game-changing invention that lands in the headlines to have impact.

Take the innovation journey of artisan cheese maker Udder Delight, which began with two goats. They quickly turned into a herd, from which a family dairy business evolved. However, milk from the dairy often went to waste and this birthed the concept of Udder Delights – a goat cheese factory that could process the milk produced on the family farm.

Udder Delights has seen average growth of 48 per cent in the last three financial years. As each year passes new cheeses are launched, new suppliers bought on, new customers introduced and new skills are learnt.

Sheree Sullivan, Udder Delights artisanal cheese producer, shared this inspiring growth story with us during a panel discussion in the Innovation Lab. She spoke about how the ability to change, take a risk and invest in what she believes in has been the catalyst to innovation.

“If things aren’t going as we had expected, we don’t put our head in the sand, we change. Our culture is change, change, change,” said Sheree.

People visiting our Innovation Lab are learning that innovation starts with identifying a problem and solving it, just like Sheree. She pointed out that if you change your business just one per cent every week, by the end of the year you have achieved 50 per cent change. Imagine that!

Stay tuned for exciting developments and upcoming events we’ll be hosting in the Innovation Lab.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.