The Innovation Strategy
A phase of stakeholder consultation took place in October 2015, which centred around an Innovation Workshop. An Innovation Questionnaire was also produced to capture the views of those who were unable to attend the workshop. The workshop was structured in a way to gather information regarding the current environment for innovation in the Falklands, barriers that prevent innovation, how innovation can be encouraged, identifying innovation opportunities and the key factors needed to deliver a national innovation strategy. A total of 31 individuals, from both the public and private sectors, attended the workshop. The workshop was led by the Innovation Manager, assisted by six facilitators.
The draft Innovation Strategy has been broken down into three parts. Part A details the stakeholder consultation structure and results, providing the context and outlining the process that has been followed. Part B is the strategy itself and Part C is the strategy’s Action Plan. Part C provides the detail of how and when the recommendations, expressed in Part B, will be delivered. Parts B and C can be found in Appendix A.
Part B is influenced by three elements; (1) the Advisory Board agreed vision for innovation in the Falkland Islands, (2) the results of the Stakeholder Consultation and (3) the OCTA definition for innovation. Using these three elements as a guide, as well as research regarding innovation strategies adopted by other countries, the Innovation Strategy for the Falklands was drafted.
The Innovation Strategy aims to instil a mentality of innovation throughout the Falkland Islands’ public and private sectors. This is to be achieved by making innovation a national priority, by specifically encouraging more local and overseas collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and institutions, increased investment in research and development, long-term planning in the development of people, encouraging innovation through the sharing of risk, and the continuous review and improvements to the Innovation Strategy itself.
You can download the Falkland Islands Innovation Strategy by clicking the link below.
Innovation Pilot Project
The Innovation Workshop held in October 2015 identified a lack of information that prevented businesses from making strategic decisions regarding options to add value to their product, namely Falklands’ wool, meat, and fish and squid. This lack of information was summarised into three areas; (1) unsure of the value adding opportunities, (2) unsure of new markets to sell to, and (3) unsure of the potential barriers preventing Falklands’ products being sold in the newly identified markets (as identified in 2). The project considers value adding as carrying out an activity that increases the selling price of a product by adding value in the eyes of the customer or consumer. This could involve processing, marketing, accreditation, certification, training, traceability, etc. Variations of this have been looked into and carried out in the past in the Falklands, from wool mills to processed Falklands’ fish, therefore the idea is not new.
However, what is new with this project is its intended outcome, which is to provide publicly available reports that present detailed analysis and recommendations regarding the commercially viable and realistic value adding opportunities for Falklands’ wool, meat, and fish and squid. These reports will provide credible information for stakeholders to make informed and strategic decisions regarding their future direction. The project has been split into four parts; value adding opportunities for Falklands’ (1) wool, (2) fish, (3) meat and squid, and (4) the development of an international marketing strategy for Falklands’ products.
A key focus for the wool industry has been in sustainability. This is evident in the application by some Falkland wool producers to become Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified - a new paradigm to replace the previous, less comprehensive, local-only wool production standard.
It is hoped the RWS will open up new markets. The internationally accepted and respected RWS provides a new framework for wool management and general welfare. The standard represents a more sustainable approach to land management, supporting animal welfare practises on farms as well as social welfare both for those who harvest the wool and those who turn it into other products later in the supply chain, preventing exploitative labour practices.
As of July 2021 over 30 farms have signed onto the scheme with 20 more set to follow by next year and 20 more the year after, constituting a majority of wool producing farms in the Falkland Islands. FIDC provides funding for a sizable portion of the RWS adoption cost and helps administer the infrastructure that allows for the farmers to upgrade their facilities and supply chains to fit those certified by the standard. A key proponent of this shift to the RWS, former FIDC Director of Wool Innovation Greg Green, returned to his native South Africa in December 2020.
In furtherance of this push towards the RWS, FIDC has additionally secured support for the construction of a new wool warehouse compliant with the RWS for wool sampling, double dumping (larger bales), packing and other areas of wool storage and production. This new purpose-built facility will replace the current ageing FIPASS facility and can store a large portion of the wool bales produced every year.
These developments - crisis support, international standards, and the modern wool storage facility - represents a new period of recovery and development for domestic wool production - wool being a product vital to the economy of the Falkland Islands and crucially defining the social ‘DNA’ of the community.