“What’s the reward-risk?” opened Tom Overton in his presentation on adoption of new technology at the recent Cornell Nutrition Conference. “We always say risk-reward, but I want to say reward-risk because I think we get stuck in listing the risks sometimes.”
That being said, the Cornell professor and researcher suggested we make two types of errors when considering new technologies. Sometimes we implement something that doesn’t work (Type 1), and sometimes we fail to implement something that we should have done (Type 2).
“Often we ignore the Type 2 error, failing to adopt something you should have done,” Overton explained.
Of course, these decisions often depend on the size of investment or magnitude of commitment required.
So, what does Overton think we should consider when making decisions on new technologies.
- 1. Biology and mode of action: “We don’t have to know everything, but we should strive to know something,” Overton said.
2. Gauge how well the change will fit into the management system.
3. Understand projected economic returns, assumptions, and sensitivity.
4. Know what the opportunity cost is for labor and management.
5. Manage expectations. “There probably aren’t any silver bullets,” Overton concluded.