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Executive Director’s Column

Teresa SpaethNone of us can see the future. We may be able to predict certain events based on past experience, but the future still eludes us.

That doesn’t mean we can’t have a hand in creating the future.

AURI strives to be innovative in all we do. Whether streamlining processes, offering unique services or identifying value-added opportunities for Minnesota agriculture, innovation is paramount. That means continually evaluating our efforts to identify new and creative ways of doing business.

One of AURI’s tactics to foster innovation involves looking at issues in a backward way— looking at desired end results first, then determining how to get there. This ‘history of the future’ technique fosters innovation because it forces us to think differently.

For example, if we want 20 percent of Minnesota’s energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2012, assume that already happened. Then determine what policies were written, renewable- energy power plants constructed and electrical distribution lines put in place to make that happen. That’s how plans of action emerge.

AURI has used this technique with many of our partners to chart their future. It’s different than our usual approach to life. But by assuming that we will reach the desired results, we can identify the steps to get there.

So while we can’t see the future, we can have a hand in shaping it.