When I walked into Deere & Co.’s Intelligent Solutions Group offices in Des Moines, one of the first things I saw was a familiar graphic on the wall - a neat visualization of what it means to make a minimum viable product.
That’s ‘lean startup’ talk, which isn’t unusual in most of the startups and tech shops I visit. But this was John Deere, the 180-year-old maker of huge tractors and huge combines and huge harvesters – maximum viable products.
I’d driven over from Chicago to learn more about “precision agriculture,” which is old-fashioned, work-the-land farming, augmented with apps and other gadgets that do everything from monitor soil moisture to drive tractors. I met folks from Deere at an Internet of Things conference, and was curious to see what the old-line manufacturer was doing in this emerging space.
A lot, it turns out.