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Sometimes the best way to win a game is to change it

Avrim Lazar, GSI Convenor

5 lessons from GSI for game-changing success through collaboration. Written by Avrim Lazar, GSI Convenor.

Market share

Normally, competing for market share is essential to business success, but the potential is often restricted by the size of the market. On top of this, consumers’ attitudes and perspectives to products like farmed salmon can limit the size of the overall market. Collaborating to grow the farmed salmon market through improvements in product quality and environmental credentials, and better positioning and communications within the industry, can ultimately change the game from a fight for a share of a small pie, to enjoying an earned share of a far larger pie.

Solving costly problems

Even with great sales, profit for salmon producers depends on keeping costs down. Costly problems in the aquaculture industry, like disease and pest control, require new ideas and new approaches, and lots of trial and error in order to find solutions. Spreading this effort across many companies who are committed to collaborating and to finding new solutions, helps speed things up enormously. The problems faced by GSI members are now solved more quickly, the impact of solutions is greater as more companies utilize these novel approaches, and, perhaps the most important factor for those of us in business, profits increase.

Licence to operate

Public acceptance is essential if a sector is to win the approval needed to grow and thrive. Public attitudes reflect the reputation of a whole sector, and are often most influenced by the poorest performers. So, no matter how well you perform as one salmon farmer, you will be held accountable for the actions of others. Collaborating to improve everyone’s performance improves the reputation of the entire salmon farming sector, and opens the door to greater social licence and growth.

Understanding the world

The socio-environmental market and political realities in which a company must operate are complex, and often not transparent. Different companies see different slices of the world, and most end up operating with only partial knowledge of the context in which they are doing business. This often causes inefficiencies in progress as companies make decisions without the full picture or end up duplicating efforts. Collaborating to share insights and understanding helps each company develop a more complete view and more informed plans.

Saving the world

Reconciling the need for more protein production with the shrinking carrying capacity of the environment is one the central existential tasks of the next ten years for GSI and its members. We therefore need a step-change increase in production and a step-change decrease in environmental impact. This will only happen by accelerating innovation, and by accelerating diffusion of new, innovative practices for the salmon farming industry. Collaboration is essential for both.

Avrim Lazar is the Convenor of the GSI, and has worked with the group since its formation in 2013. To hear more from Avrim on what makes the GSI a game-changer not only for the farmed salmon sector but beyond, be sure to check out his videos on our Twitter page @GSI_Salmon.