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Sustaining Innovation in Agriculture

Robert Saik, CEO of Agri-Trend Group of Companies
Taylor Keefe
June 9th, 2012
Robert Saik is an important figure in the Canadian agriculture industry. As the Founder and CEO of Agri-Trend Group of Companies, Robert knows how to take ideas from the boardroom and turn them into practical products, procedures and services for farmers he meets in the fields. Animated and full of energy, Robert is a neo-CEO who is in tune with everything from social media to the blogosphere. In an entertaining conversation while driving through Albertan farmlands, Robert reveals how he stays on top of his industry and why it’s important to be on Twitter.

3 Questions with Robert Saik

1. How significant are the topics of cool hunter and trend spotting to your business?

It’s something that is highly important. As founder and CEO, I keep an eye on a myriad of things in agriculture. I'm on Twitter. I monitor farmers and the industry constantly. I stay connected online for various electronic insights. And as a leader in agriculture, I think it's important to stay on top of technology. I'm always scanning the horizon for new trends and new ideas.

2. How do you create a culture of innovation?

I think that's driven by the leadership. I still know more about social media than my kids. The leader has to show a drive of enthusiasm. I like to be immersed. Leadership has to be interested in something and then demonstrate it. Also, we have this 10x growth approach. How can we grow the business 10x instead of double or triple? How can we 10x innovation? How can we 10x phone calls? How can we 10x meetings or farm events? By doing so, we create a culture where innovation will spur.

3. How are you going to enhance you team’s innovation?

Part of it is the structure of the organization. Each of our areas is headed by a brilliant person. Every one of them is a farm kid. They've grown up in the industry. I think they should be - because of our structure - always having their ear to the ground. Then I work to pull everyone together, asking questions like, "What's next? What can we do better?" Then there's intelligence. Internal intelligence. How do we take what we know and how do we increase it? It's about integrating internal intelligence. And I use the word "intelligence" more as a verb than a noun; trying to grab the active role of integrating and seeing how we can improve it.