John Deere has worked with NewEdge since 2005 to help drive their innovation and R&D strategies at a corporate level. It all started when they asked us to help them figure out where to play and who to partner with in biofuels. Since then, we’ve brought together highly siloed businesses to create a global innovation strategy and explored opportunity in connectivity and perception sensing.
As one of the most well-known and respected companies in the world, John Deere does more than bend metal and paint it green — they are recognized as a leading provider of advanced products and services for agriculture, construction, and forestry.
In 20XX, Deere was seeking to develop their innovation strategy for the future. Traditionally, they had made investment decisions by reviewing their past portfolio and refreshing it. But, as the pace of change rapidly increased, this method proved less and less effectual. They needed to be future-forward, but there was simply too much future to understand and pay attention to. They asked that NewEdge find a way to determine which aspects of the future would be most disruptive and create the greatest opportunity.
Mapping trends onto the current portfolio – agriculture, construction, forestry – resulted in a view of the future with serious holes in it, missing major trends simply because they didn’t apply to the business right now. So, rather than looking at WHAT Deere was doing, we explored WHY they were successful.
We identified three essences that outlined what the organization truly stood for—connecting to the land, getting the job done, and improving customer’s profitability. Next, we looked at the future of each of these essences and mapped emerging trends and solutions back to the organization, allowing us to succinctly determine how John Deere’s capabilities fit with their desired future vision.
We discovered that John Deere was adversely (and unknowingly) on the path to becoming a very small part of the job in the future.
It was critically clear that to avoid disruption and achieve sustainable growth, the organization needed to shift their attention towards the role that digital technology would play in helping customers connect to the land, get their job done or make their businesses profitable. The outcome was a clear structural plan for future innovation, which ultimately increased their ability to generate faster, more successful results company-wide.
Now, a decade and multiple CEO’s later — the same strategy still is guiding John Deere. The organization went from having only a couple of IT experts to a couple thousand, which contributed to the organization’s current position as an AgTech leader.