FROM value-adding the byproducts of red meat processing to dealing with grass seed infestations in sheep or cattle feedlot dags, the red meat industry is tapping into cutting edge ways to come up with solutions that push the boundaries of traditional research and development.
Global company Xinova is at the forefront of technological problem solving with an extraordinary method of cultivating working relationships with innovators worldwide to define a problem, collaborate and access all resources and then map out a pathway to deliver solutions.
The company’s Innovation Services Group senior program leader Gregory Caire, based at Seattle, spoke at a recent lotfeeding industry conference in Brisbane, telling beef delegates “everything is solvable.”
Xinova has a 12,000-strong innovation network of inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and design thinkers representing research institutes, universities and companies.
“We are able to think outside the square to architect solutions. We go beyond research and development to close the loop,” Mr Caire said.
“Our innovators represent every scientific discipline and are scattered around the globe.”
Often a solution can come from an entirely different industry, he explained.
“For example a Chinese energy company came to us looking for material that wouldn’t corrode to contain a corrosive gas,” Mr Caire said.
“We throw it out to the inventor community and an audio engineer proposed a solution using the fact gas could be contained by a soundwave, making the material for a container less relevant.
“The company went about building and testing the unique solution and now also owns the IP (intellectual property).
“It can be all about redefining the problem.
“Traditional R&D has changed. There is a lot of free data in the world today but utilising it requires different smarts.
“This is about derisking the innovation process and accessing inventors not easily found.”
Xinova has generated 5400 product and intellectual property assets and its global customers include Fujitsu, Pepsico, Honda and many Australian research and development corporations, including those in the red meat space.
“We’ve been working with Meat and Livestock Australia for six years and over that time we’ve invested around $10m into solving problems for livestock industries in Australia,” Mr Caire said.
Traceability of livestock has been one key area and solutions have included the likes of facial recognition, satellite tracking and alternatives to ear tags.
Turning byproducts of red meat processing into an additional source of income has been another area of work.
Mr Caire explained Xinova brought in food product developers, processors and experts in protein technology to come up with solutions like collagen sports drinks, protein bars, beauty bars and protein based chips.
Protein snacking, he said, had the potential to offer a four-to-five times multiplier value-add in comparison to good quality cuts of red meat.
“We’ve now had interest in some of these products from a large manufacturer and we hope to commercialise products within a year or two,” Mr Caire said.
Xinova takes requests for inventions - which is basically asking for a technical solution to a problem - but Mr Caire said what the company was increasingly finding was a growing need for technology advancements.
“It may involve current technology that has a licence agreement around it, or adapting and augmenting current technology - not reinventing the wheel but pulling things in for far faster conversion times,” he said.
“A fresh invention can take five to ten years to come to fruition but a request for technology typically has a two-year horizon.”