IoT Impact 2019 Design Workshop - Data & The Drought

For this year’s event, our Design thinking workshop focused how IoT could help meet the challenge of the drought.
Annual Report 2017-18.pdf

IoTAA Impact Conference 2019

Design Thinking Workshop

IoT Impact 2019, hosted by IoTAA, brought another fantastic opportunity for Food Agility to showcase our design processes to some of the leading minds in global Internet of Things technology.

For this year’s event, we turned the focus of the Food & Agribusiness workshop to the most pressing issue threatening the future of our sector – the national drought crisis and the increasing unpredictability of Australia’s climate.

Our framing question for the session was…

“Empathy is truly an innovation superpower,” says Food Agility CTO Tim Parsons, who led the jam-packed workshop. "Walking in the shoes of our partners and customers is one of the most powerful ways to inspire new ideas and ensure that our projects deliver things people want.”

Via conference call, Dr Nicole Dimos, Executive Officer of the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia (SPAA), and Mr Jon Medway, Senior Research Fellow (Precision Agriculture) at Charles Sturt University, joined Food Agility Chief Scientist Prof David Lamb to share their experiences, aspirations, and concerns for the future of their farming enterprises.

Following these discussions, the workshop split into small groups to review their observations and identify key insights into the problems experienced by primary producers in the face of drought and climate variability. Next, the groups were instructed to prioritise and internally validate these challenge areas, and then turn their minds to solutions during a fast-paced brainstorming exercise.

With their ideas now logged on the Design Canvas, the groups prioritised their ideas so that the most innovative concept was selected and mapped visually as a prototype. Finally, each group road-tested their ideas in front of an audience by pitching to the room.

We continue to be astounded by the quality of ideas that can emerge during our design workshops, and this intensive session was no different. Solutions ranged from smart water troughs, to formation of predictive digital twins, and the use of sharing economy principles for on-farm resources. The most important takeaway for participants was the impact that end-use empathy had on their proposals, and the importance of the design thinking process.

For more information on the session, or to join the IoTAA Food and Agribusiness workstream please email

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