Food Agility recently opened our first official training program for students funded through our Higher Degree Research grant initiative. The training program, called Agile for Researchers, aims to equip a pool of early-stage researchers with the skills needed to manage complex industry-research collaborations using Scrum, an agile framework that helps teams work together efficiently.
The Scrum framework focuses on four areas: team roles, planning, delivery of work and quality control. It is based on the idea that the best way to build products, or in this case deliver research, is to sustain high levels of accountability, self-reflection and transparency between the people involved in a project. It believes that teams, not managers, are best placed to make decisions on the best way to deliver on work – but that stakeholders can play an important part of the planning process. Most importantly, Scrum pushes teams to prioritise their work in order to deliver a functioning piece of output each “sprint”.
Food Agility has slowly been introducing these concepts to the teams that it invests in. To date, the most impactful and valuable change we have seen is in increased engagement from the industry partners. Using Scrum helps teams deliver value early, and often – which is proving to be an excellent way of demonstrating the importance of the research, increasing researcher access to valuable feedback and also raise the profile of the research initiatives inside the industry partners companies.
The goal of Food Agility’s Agile for Researchers program is to upskill future researchers on important project management skills. We will be supporting the students gain an industry standard accreditation and giving them access to staff office hours, online resources and the experiences we have learned through delivering on our own portfolio of investments.
The Agile for Researchers program will be run by our Agile Coach John Westgarth.
John Westgarth has built a career working in the innovation, education and government spaces. His passion is working with teams to help them deliver their ideas - which sounds simple, but often involves stripping ideas back to their core, finding first customers and then building the idea in a scalable way. John is a certified Scrum Master with a background in design thinking and lean startup. John joins Food Agility after stints as Innovation Lead with Decoded, a UK based emerging tech training company. Prior to that John worked on innovation projects for UTS, NICTA (now CSIRO) and the NSW Government.