A Disciplined Stage Gate Development Process for Your Ag Innovation is Critical

James Baker famously said, “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” Innovative researchers around the world are generating new scientific and creative concepts to potentially improve production agriculture. However, even the most brilliant new concepts may not become viable commercial products. Proper development is as much about process as it is about science. It’s imperative to develop a plan for product development, business development and market development at the start of the process to succeed with your agriculture innovation.

Prescriptive Response

Optimization of the development process from discovery through development and launch encompasses many variables to manage. Much like farming, the complexity is enhanced by unknown and uncontrollable environmental factors, especially weather. The challenges require flexibility and resiliency, but the rewards can overcome the risks with proper discipline and focus.

The AgriThority® Prescriptive Response™ Development service allows innovators to discover and leverage their internal expertise with the consistent, disciplined data generated from well-trained and experienced product development experts.

Early Development

The movement from research into the early development phase starts with proving the product concept. The first steps should validate useful benefits and define the scope. Conducting trials in well controlled environments, often in a greenhouse or growth chamber, narrows key variables. This critical step just begins to generate the necessary information and knowledge that will drive success in the next development phases. Simultaneously the business case, intellectual property position, and regulatory pathway should be clearly established to ensure the freedom to operate as well as set the commercialization timeframe, usually defined by the registration timelines and seasonality of the field development.

Early development small-plot trials deliver performance facts to aid in determining best variants, formulations, rates, and timing of application for biologicals or new chemistry. Here we are still talking about a few locations and several treatments. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure the product concept and delivery method are robust enough to face the challenge of environmental variability. This stage also finalizes the registration requirements and safety plan as production options and markets are prioritized.

Business Development

A brilliant innovation needs equally brilliant strategies. But, most importantly, high impact execution produces extraordinary results. Many times, business development is considered too late in the process or not at all. Developing strategies, gaining alignment within the team and creating a plan of action can avoid hiccups down the road.

Market Development

Markets are usually evaluated by crops and size, but there is much more to consider in the market development phase. How will you access new markets and why? Again, this must begin in concert with the early development process to avoid unnecessary delays and costs. Start with defining and quantifying the needs your product fills. Confirm requirements of each considered market. Prioritize optional target markets, develop a market entry plan, and finally, execute the plan.

Late Development

With clarity on how to deliver the new product, the product can move into late development. That is translated into small-plot trials conducted in several locations over multiple years. The robustness of that data will directly correlate with the number of replications and environments tested. During this phase, it is important to have reliable partners who can generate accurate and credible data. The performance and use data must continually build solid information about how, when, and where to apply the new technology for the greatest benefit. Ultimately, the goal of late development is to show the technology has value under different conditions.

Having a clear understanding of how to use the new technology is not enough to make it successful in the marketplace.

Technology Transfer

Thorough and credible data sets need expansion and confirmation through large-scale, on-farm trials to demonstrate benefits locally. Growers listen to other growers. So, conclusive data from large-scale field trials in their area and on crops grown by their peers are crucial to move new products from awareness to trial use and on toward adoption. And growers also are influenced by their local suppliers, dealers, and agronomists. The pathway to successful commercialization includes a go-to-market and technology transfer plan with a clear, concise, and credible story backed by scientific facts.

Aggregating knowledge and information during the development years helps translate facts and stats into meaningful messaging that the sales channel and their growers can trust. Knowing the key opinion leaders in farming communities and gaining their support is as important in the launch phase as defining the value and calculating the return on investment.

All the research conducted will not be effective unless you identify your customers, understand their needs, and recognize how to market to them.

When your Research is ready for Development, turn to AgriThority® for scientific product, business and market expertise. As an independent global science resource, we focus on exploring potential, expanding market access, and evolving production for greater food security and sustainability.

To learn more about our Prescriptive Response™ development services, contact Gloverson Moro, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, by emailing or call +1-816-891-0916.