By Tim Gieseke, Founder and President, Ag Resource Strategies, LLC, USA ...
This divergence is described as disruptive conservation, a term borrowed from The Innovator’s Dilemma, where disruptive innovationis described as a market force that occurs due to the introduction of a new process, technology, and/or product that appeals to a new customer base enabling them to approach an issue with a different set of values and strategies.
In the Sunrise case, the new product is the farm portfolio and the new customer is the state of Minnesota. This illustrates the potential of disruptive conservation; where the farmers were once the [conservation practice] customer of the USDA CDS, now the government, NGOs and corporations can become the farmers’ [environmental asset] customers.
In disruptive innovation, a realignment of activities and relationships among the stakeholders occurs causing some corporations to flourish and others to fail. But due to the comprehensive nature of landscape management, the CDS stakeholders remain viable components.
In the Sunrise project, local agronomists assess farms and develop portfolios. This realignment decouples the on-farm assessment process from government programs, causing the CDS to shift from a program-driven to a more resource-driven process; a recommendation of National Association of State Conservation Agencies in a 2007 report Evaluation of the Nation’s Conservation Delivery System."