According to the Oslo Manual, innovation is considered to occur when a new or improved product is brought to the market. A concept that seems simple at first glance, but the reality is quite different. Product development is not easy, hence the importance of succession.
In the chain of innovation and product development, the first step is the search for innovative ideas. After that, it must develop into a clearer concept, pass the filter of economic viability, become a prototype, test in a test market and become commercial on a large scale. All have proper risk management.
Developing an innovative idea requires time for reflection, a space for exchange and acceptance with the right to make mistakes. Practicing innovation often requires thinking outside the box,” thinking outside the box “, to see others. The most famous example to illustrate this way of thinking is related to solving the nine-point problem. A problem must be solved by joining all the dots using four or fewer straight lines without lifting the pencil or crossing the same line twice. However, to manage to solve it, it is necessary to go beyond the box created explicitly by the points. In relation to this similarity, thinking differently is easier for the next generation, because it is less anchored in paradigms of experience.
This year, for 16 students to choose the course Special ornamental crops, integrated product development work is offered to them. However, there is a hindrance to the latter, the use of production spaces (greenhouses, tunnels, outdoor crop beds) that are underutilized by our ornamental, environmental and food horticulture (HOEN) companies.
In technical college training, our role is to convey to the next generation the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to understand their field of specialty. At the end of the course, our integrative goals are to set the stage for the development of skills, mixed knowledge, knowledge, and interpersonal skills, allowing students to integrate the labor market.
In the exercise given to the students, many ideas emerged. Many are drawn to edible products (jars of ginger, chamomile for herbal tea, arrangements of edible succulents, bowls of colorful lettuce, etc.). Does the HOEN industry produce enough edibles outside of the spring season? A related question to ask. Other students suggested exploiting biophilia, with exotic plants to promote once the gray days of autumn arrive. Are we doing it effectively? A student offered to work at Anemone hupehensis to offer them in autumn bloom, together with chrysanthemums, a wonderful idea that makes me ask the following question: is the autumn market well exploited? Another student offered Stapelia for Halloween, because her flowers stink. Another champion of this unique category is theAmorphophallus. Couldn’t there be a new exotic plant concept to make for the Halloween market?
For Christmas, the ideas suggested are really small potted fir trees (I’ve seen “skinny” spruce trees at very high prices at florists), eucalyptus pots and red potted rosemary firs trees. Can we offer more variety of products on offer for this holiday?
Let’s go somewhere else, a student came up with a concept for a cat. Planters at their height they can bite at will. A crazy idea? In its analysis of pet food industry trends in Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada forecasts retail pet food sales to reach C$5.3 billion by 2025. Cat food is the second largest category importance in animal feeds. Moreover, in a study conducted in 2016 for the magazine Quebec Greenthe Marcon company noticed the rising trend of
” petscaping “. Are we exploiting this market potential?
With change, a fresh look is needed to think outside the box. The next generation, young and old, is definitely one of the main elements for the development of the HOEN sector. A place that, through research and innovation, will grow more and more especially important to the sustainable development of our society.
Claude Vallée, agr., M.Sc.
Business development and continuing education advisor – Sustainable and urban agriculture, professor at ITAQ, campus
from Saint Hyacinthe