How can sustainable technology contribute to a sustainable world?
Wayne Turner, CEO of Odyssey Sensors, has more than 20 years’ experience leading start-ups, going concerns, and turn-arounds. His career has spanned a wide range of educational, environmental, and social endeavours in the US and internationally, most notably East Africa.
In the early part of his career, Wayne built and led a public shellfish restoration and aquaculture project in New England. Later, Wayne served in a number of leadership capacities at Teton Science Schools in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and more recently as executive director of the Ashokan Center in New York. Wayne joins us from his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Economic and Environmental Sustainability
Odyssey Sensors develops affordable, usable, versatile technology that particularly helps the overlooked and under-served farmers of the world. The flagship product of Odyssey Sensors is the HealthyShrimp Salinity Sensor.
The HealthyShrimp Salinity Sensor is a low cost, solar powered, hand held sensor. It is dipped in the pond water for 5 seconds to check the salinity of the water.
Knowing the salinity level allows the farmer to manage and manipulate the pond water – to add more salt if it is too diluted or to dilute the pond by bringing fresh water in. The optimized salinity allows, in many cases, a doubling of the shrimp that the farmer can bring to the market. In so doing, it doubles the farmer’s income. It also prevents ponds becoming unusable and the farmer having to dig a new pond in the fragile mangrove forests.
Another product, the TroughSentry Remote Water Monitor, is an Internet of Things device that allows a pond or tank of water, situated 25 kilometers or more away, out in a remote location to be monitored. Instead of spending time and energy driving and visually inspecting the tank, farmers can get the status of the water tank sent directly to their smartphones or their computer.
The TroughSentry Remote Water Monitor significantly reduces the environmental pressure of having to go out and inspect the tanks.
Odyssey sensors is focused on small-holder and family owned farms and aims to help them improve their productivity and livelihood.
Grants and Sustainable Development
The real value of grants and prizes is that the money received is used for the development of products and there is no pressure to pay it back. Grants and gifts allow top-notch development and no recoupment is required. This enables selling the products to the people who need them at a price they can afford; the grants and gifts help to focus on making an impact in the lives of the people an organisation is looking to help with their product.
Impact on Daily Life
Wayne has had impact the other way round; where his embedded personal ideals of a low carbon footprint was the guiding influence in the creation of the company. Wayne tries to minimize travel as much as possible. He believes in leading by example.
Wayne’s time camping with his family for almost a year, just after leaving the Ashokan Center in New York.
He had an inspiring time living simply, in a tent at National and State parks, across the United States and Canada, with his wife and two young daughters. It was a transformative experience for the entire family.
Wayne Most Admires
His father – an electrical engineer – for his impact philosophy that was instilled in Wayne, and for what he accomplished in underwater acoustics.
Wayne’s favourite resources
– Identifying the problem that needs a solution. Streamlining what it is that needs solving.
– Networking; talking to and learning from people.
– Use collaboration instead of competition.
– Writing proposals and distilling the idea into paper.
– Getting out in the field and, being with the people/clients so you understand their problems and can serve them better.
Takeaway from this Episode
Have curiosity of the world around you, ask questions and do not be afraid to fail, because anything is possible.
Companies mentioned in the Interview
B Corporation – in terms of Odyssey Sensors being a certified B Corporation. For being a business for good, for harnessing the innate value and power of business markets to do good work for people, who otherwise are under-served and overlooked.
Blue Economy Challenge – in reference to Odyssey Sensors being one of the 10 winners worldwide for the award.
The guiding influence of our designs is to solve human problem, environmental problem, and to do it at a cost that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can actually afford it.Wayne Turner