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May Guest of the Month : Prof. Dr. Hamdi Bilgen


“Innovation”: Definition and the Importance for the Agricultural Machinery Sector

Innovation, innovativeness, renovation, creativeness … These are the concepts defined in this paper.   

Turkish Language Society (TDK) named  the Turkish term “Yenileşim” for “Innovation” which originates from the Latin word “Innovatus” meaning “to renew or alter”. However, the word “Inovasyon” is widely used as a universal concept in our language though the term does not sound much Turkish. In brief, the words “"yenileşim” and “inovasyon” are synonyms in Turkish.

The specific definition of these two concepts in the business world is “to create a new value” in other words to provide new benefit(s). If something brings along a benefit for someone it is valuable. The value is always set by the customer.   

Creativity” is a frequently used concept related to the topic of this paper. Creativity is the skill to use one’s imagination to create something different and new. Creativity is required for innovation. You will obtain an innovation if the idea or solution creates a new value.     

Innovativeness” is defined as a concept by TDK as: “Being in favor of novelty” 

The basic difference between “Creativity” and “Innovation” refers to  creative things or new ideas with the word creativeness while creativity means generating new ideas innovation means implementing these creative ideas. There is no need to expense money for creativity while there is a need for innovation.  

“Competition” is inherently a developing process open to positive not destructive results as it relates to progress and development. Competitiveness is essentially dependent on the will of the human beings to achieve better. Creativity, competition, and technology are interwoven and come to fore as the concepts that positively affect one another.  

The businesses operating in today’s global competition environment where new technologies are rapidly growing; market factors are continuously evolving, products are rapidly out of fashion, and the number of rivals are on the rise invariably embark on new quests. 

It is an undeniable fact that competitiveness is hinged on science and technology.  Creativity leads to the emergence of new technologies, while applicable new technologies lead to increasing competitiveness and competitiveness leads to an increasing creativity.  

Currently, creativity does not only mean generating technology but also means, when considered with the concept of competition, the capability to technologies that may be accepted by the market and releasing into the market where necessary.  

Developing and implementing new technologies to meet the demands and needs of the customers is a duty assumed by research and development activities closely related to technology. Technological knowledge arises as a result of the efforts of Research and Development (R&D) and Product Development (PD) teams spread through the entire economy and is share commonly which brings along an economic growth. The efforts of “research-development” and “product development” represent an existential struggle for the businesses under today’s severe and ruthless conditions. 

The firms try to convince its customers that innovative products meet the requirement in respect of commercialization. Granting innovation-approval to the product by independent-impartial individuals or institutions constitute a major tool in the firms’ marketing the innovative products.

The explanations made so far as regards the title of this paper, namely “Innovation” and “Agricultural Machinery” have a general nature and may naturally apply to the agricultural machinery sector.  As we consider as a focus the “Farmer” as the customer,“Agricultural Machinery” as the product, andAgricultural Machinery Industrialist” as the firm, it is worth mentioning the following regarding the meaning and importance of innovation:  

* Meeting the requirements of the customers: Innovation helps the firms to develop innovative products that meets the developing requirements of the farmers, solve the problem, and develop innovative products that may serve as a remedy to their problems. The firm may outrun its rivals with the help of innovative solutions based on the feedbacks of the farmers and may thus protect its loyal customer base. The innovative solutions that meet the requirements of the farmers will help the firm differentiate itself from its rivals and grow its market share.

* Cost effectiveness and productivity: Innovation ensures the development of equipment and technology that increases efficiency and productivity. The innovative solutions that help  the farmers reduce the costs and raise productivity will help the firms attract higher number of customers and attain a competitive edge. Innovation may also help reduce the cost of machinery and raise efficiency. The firms may also develop new technologies and processes to further increase performance of the equipment, reduce the fuel consumption and decrease maintenance costs. This may also help the companies offer more competitive prices and raise their profitability.  

* Sophisticated customer care: Innovation may help the agricultural machinery manufacturers improve the customer care and support. As an example, the firms may develop machinery to remotely monitor performance and provide proactive maintenance and support services to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

* Sustainability improvement: Innovation may help the firms to develop environment-friendly sustainable solutions in agricultural activities. The firms may develop innovative products that help the farmers reduce wastes and raise resource efficiency and may thus outrun their rivals and address environmentally-sensitive farmers.    

* Developing New Income Flows: Innovation may help the firms determine new market opportunities and generate new income flows. It can develop innovative products, penetrate into new markets, and raise the market shares. Innovation may also help the firms attain a strong brand reputation. The firms may thus develop innovative products and technologies to raise efficiency, reduce waste, and support sustainability, and can accordingly position themselves as industry leader and gain the trust and loyalty of the customers.   

* Improving Employee Participation and Retention: Innovation may generate a creativity and R&D culture that may raise employee participation and retention. The firms may attract and retain high-level skills by strengthening these employees in sharing their views and contribute to innovation.

* Leading in respect of Competition: Innovation is essential for the firms to outrun their rivals. The firms failing to innovate in a rapidly changing market may face the risk of losing the market.  

As a result, innovation is very important for the competitiveness of the companies. The companies may attain a long-term success and growth by developing innovative products and services, raising efficiency and productivity, generating new income flows, improving employee participation and retention, and leading in respect of competition.  

The agricultural machinery sector will continue to shape in the future with such trends as sustainability, sensitive agriculture, autonomous equipment, robotic solutions, artificial intelligence, and internet-connectable equipment. Such trends will encourage innovation and help the farmers produce more efficient and sustainable food.  


Prof. Dr. Hamdi BİLGEN, was born in 1957 and raised in Turgutlu/Manisa. He completed primary, secondary and high-school education in 1974 in Turgutlu. The same year, BİLGEN enrolled in the Agricultural Faculty of Ege University and earned his MSc degree at “Agricultural Engineering” at the Department of Agricultural Machinery in 1979. He started his professional career as “Agricultural Engineer MSc.” at the Regional Project Directorate of Livestock Development affiliated with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock in Izmir in 1979-1980. After succeeding in the ‘Research Assistant’ examination held in 1980, he was employed in the Department of Agricultural Equipment and Machineries of the Faculty of Agriculture at Ege University. He completed his PhD dissertation in 1987 and earned the “Assistant Professor” title in 1991 at the Department of Agricultural Machineries of the Ege University which was followed by the title of  “university Associate Professor”  in 1993 and “Associate Professor” title in 1996, and finally he received University Professor title in 2001. Prof. BİLGEN; represented the Ege University at the Turkish national Committee of the International Association for the Exchange of Students technical Experience (IAESTE) in 2005-2018, and has assumed since 2008 the role of “Germany Giessen Justus Liebig University and Izmir Ege University Collaboration Coordinator” and the permanent member of the Board of Directors of the “Izmir Branch of Turkish-German Cultural Association”. He is also the founding member of the “Izmir Agriculture Group” and holds professional memberships to various associations or organizations as “Turkish-German Agricultural and Natural Science Researchers Association”, “Agricultural Machinery Association” and German Agricultural Society (DLG)- Innovation Committee. Hamdi Bilgen also published numerous books, articles, and papers related to his areas of expertise. He is married  and has  a daughter and a son and has a very good knowledge of English and German languages.