THE LAST ISSUE OF NZ LOGGER INVOLVED SOME ‘BLUE sky’ thinking about the future of forestry, so we’re back down on earth this month, in a special feature that looks at innovation and technology which is about to become available or it’s here now.
Who’d have thought we would see a felling carriage on a skyline that is not far from going into production? Or tele-operated technology (otherwise known as remote control) just weeks away from being ready to employ in today’s machines?
We used to marvel at winch-assisted harvesters working on steep slopes but they are commonplace today.
The pace of change that is taking place in New Zealand forestry is nothing short of amazing and what strikes me is that it is being sparked by people on the ground, not boffins or well-resourced manufacturers. That was illustrated perfectly by the number of homegrown innovations on show at last month’s Harvest TECH 2017 conference.
Sure, it may require qualified technicians to put some of the ideas into practice, but the momentum is coming from ordinary folk.
In this day and age, anyone can be an innovator. Especially in forestry. We’ve stopped accepting that yesterday’s solutions are the only options available. We’re questioning whether we can do the job better, safer, more efficiently and with more respect for the environment. And more importantly, we’re acting on it.
I grew up in more rigid, regimented times, when you had to accept what your peers said and just do as you were told.
It’s great that we’ve broken free from those shackles. There is much more acceptance now for fresh thinking. Just as long as we don’t turn our backs on all the good things that have worked bloody well. A mix of the two makes a great combination.
And we can do more to foster innovation by encouraging everyone within our organisation, large or small, to think about what they are doing and make suggestions if they believe there is a better way.
Not all ideas will be good ones, but should be encouraged nevertheless. New Zealanders used to be known for our Number 8 Wire approach. We’re now taking that to another level with our Grass Roots Innovation in the forest. Celebrate it. Foster it.