Innovation starts with disruption

Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, took the stage with an enthusiastic smile — a smile that was clearly concealing an exciting secret. Luckily for the 4,000 attendees in the audience, ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE17) was just beginning, and the secrets of how to be a disruptor were about to be revealed.
The theme of the conference, “Disrupt the Disruptors,” is about changing the status quo and shaking up the industry by developing and embracing products and ideas that save time and money, improve efficiency and are user friendly.
Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts at Alltech, emphasized the importance of agriculture embracing new, disruptive technologies on-farm.
“If you don’t embrace disruption, you’ll go out of business,” he explained.
Welcoming disruption becomes synonymous with welcoming the future, and the future of agriculture features more efficient farming, faster results and money saved.
Connolly detailed the eight technologies that have the power to transform agriculture through disruptive innovation:
  1. 3D printing
  2. Robots
  3. Drones
  4. Sensors
  5. Artificial intelligence
  6. Augmented reality
  7. Virtual reality
  8. Blockchain
“Innovation is key to disrupt an industry,” said Connolly.
While it is important for businesses to accept disruption, what does it take for them to achieve disruption in a competitive, ever-expanding market?
Dr. Lyons made his message very clear: “Mainstream companies sell products; great companies sell dreams.” 
To be a disruptor in its industry, a company must sell not only what they are interested in producing, but what the consumer wants; it is a two-way street.
“Being a disruptor is about having the dreams of your people aligned with yours, and your dreams aligned with theirs because, ultimately,” said Dr. Lyons, “they’re the ones who count.”
In addition to realizing dreams through disruption, he explained that these dreams and ideas are not enough — companies must also have ideals. Laying out the roadmap for successful disruption, Dr. Lyons explained the non-negotiable ideals of Alltech:
  1. Remaining a privately owned company
  2. Reinvesting time and money into our companies, products and employees
  3. Speed: Don’t get it right, get it going
  4. Having fun
By starting with a dream, innovators and entrepreneurs can begin their journey of disruption. Disruption, after all, begins with just ONE great idea.