Autumn Update 2015

  • Published: by Jeff Coutts | Permalink
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It’s autumn and time for a blog update from me.  What is exciting for our web page is that Amy is also writing a blog and bringing in her insights and perspectives.  The topic of using social media in extension and its evaluation, for example, is an area that there is growing interest – not just in Australia – but world-wide.  She also has a twitter feed (@amyrsamson) – and I think I am going have to get more active in that area as well!  We are certainly using social media (Whatsapp) to get regular updates on Amy’s daughter Evie’s milestones – first crawl, first word (nana) and first standing up in the cot!  We are also using this app in some projects in which I am involved – with great effect.

In January we had our daughter Jocie (who we visited in Canada) home with our two grandchildren (via Disneyland in LA).  Visits to the Australia zoo and then searching for bearded dragons in our gully were hallmarks of the visit.  Who would have thought there was so much wildlife around (and we did find some!).

I have managed to get to the local Toowoomba Show. The show’s always been a highlight for me since my younger days showing cattle at the Royal Brisbane show when I was doing my undergraduate study. The highlight for me is definitely the sheep dog trials – my first port of call!

Going back to New Zealand to undertake a component of a project review in the dairy industry for Deloitte was a recent highlight.  I always love the trips to New Zealand.  I was reading the other day that at the time of Federation, there was a hope that New Zealand might have joined up at the time. Apparently there is “Manuka” in Canberra in anticipation of this happening!  Of course, then, the Cricket World Cup series final clash between Australia and New Zealand would not have happened!

The other NZ project in which I am involved – the Co-innovation Project – is also very exciting.  Not only does it consider the value chain but it seeks to link industries, public, private and farmers. It is about bringing the major players in the ‘biological industries’ to work together, learn from each other and make big jumps in a way that they might not have otherwise.  Australia is lacking here – it’s time to learn from our NZ counterparts and embrace ‘co-innovation’.  It’s a chance to find the big opportunities for change and progress.

Now I am taking a breath and having a short break with Robyn to visit temples in Cambodia and travel down the Mekong. A true holiday – with Ben and Amy holding the fort for the company.  And after that there is the conference in Wageningen, the Netherlands to participate in two international Extension conferences.  All designed to keep my mind active and to keep learning.  Extension is still vital for change – and its so nice to be a part of it!