Four Tips for Integrating New Wildlife Protocols into a Successful Drone Project

Many remote pilots are thinking of ways to start a drone business or looking for ways to differentiate themselves among the vast sea of remote pilots.  For those of us actively working as drone entrepreneurs, we intimately know that a drone is a tool to help our current niched business thrive, we are enhancing our services with a drone. Basically this boils down to the fact a drone is a tool similar to a shovel, a truck, or a flashlight. But really sexy right now!


As a business owner we have a specialized businesses in construction, real estate, or agriculture and the drone is a tool that helps us do our jobs more efficiently and provides data that helps us make decisions or analyze next steps so that we are producing higher quality products that eventually benefit our clients.


As a conservation biologist and entrepreneur I found a solution to help develop a value proposition that will set drone businesses apart from their competition and will provide benefit humanity and protect wildlife. The goal is to help your drone business succeed while also reducing negative impacts to wildlife and humans.


The most significant change you can make today for your business is adding an environmentally-friendly value proposition to your core set of values. While developing your current business strategy you may have used the Canvas Business Model focused on developing value propositions for your clients and creating your core business values.


In the value proposition model of Canvas you first review your customer’s jobs. You map out what your client needs to accomplish. You then map out how you intend to help your cu

stomer get the job done. You will create a list of every pain your customer experiences before, during, and after the job. Then you create a gains list that show the benefit your customer expects, gains, or is surprised by working with you.

Next step is to list out your services and products you intend to use. You then describe how each of these services or products create value by either killing the customer pain or creating a gain for your customer.

You don’t need to alleviate every pain and you don’t need to target a service or product to address each gain. Start small so you can successfully deliver a product that is amazing. It’s at this stage you start to identify where you can develop and add new environmentally-friendly protocols to your current flight operations.

Here are the four steps for improving your current flight operations so you can add and measure the effectiveness of your new wildlife-focused or environmentally-conscious flight protocols. This is where you take one of your services or products and implement it! There is a four-step process for making improvements to your current value propositions that is simple when done in small steps so you can measure your success.


The Four Steps:

  1. Plan

  2. Do

  3. Check

  4. Act

Step 1 is Plan. In this step you gather information and ideas. You may look at your target market and decide that they are willing to pay extra or may choose you over a competitor once you have described how you are greening your drone footprint or adding wildlife considerations to your flight plans. You then select your optimal approach for integrating the new environmentally-friendly value proposition and services. You need to work with your flight crew in this step.


Step 2 is Do. In this step you begin to implement the protocol change in the field and with your flight crew. This is the test phase to demonstrate the practicality of the change by physically performing the new protocols associated to your service or product. For example you may have added specific protocols to reduce eagle disturbance. In this phase if you encounter an eagle you may test your new protocol. Perhaps you determine that flying higher and slowly backing away is the new operational protocol. You and the flight crew determine how the protocol worked. Did it cost you more time or money to integrate the new protocols? Did the specific protocols reduce the disturbance? It is important in this step that you execute as closely to normal control station operations and integrate your steps in small increments. This way you know what is working in your process and you can easily measure the results. Basically, you are using this as a dry-run to see if your flight crew can operate under the new conditions.


Step 3 is Check. In this phase you gather data using your new protocols. Compare the new protocol performance with both previous and planned performance levels in the field. Seek to clarify any deviation of those criteria.


Step 4 is Act. When you find that a specific protocol benefits your flight operation and protects wildlife, lock this in by adding it to your communication checklist and flight operations manual. By updating your process instructions, standard flight operating procedures, training material, and maintenance procedures you can ensure your flight crew will be have the proper information to conduct flights that include benefits to humanity and wildlife – even if you can’t be in the field with them.


This four step process is cyclical. As you work through the cycle you can modify and make changes to improve the quality of your flight operational protocols and procedures. When you consistently add or modify your flight operations to include wildlife considerations it’s best to consult with wildlife experts. The wildlife experts in your flight area will be able to tell you more about seasonality that includes reproduction, nesting, burrowing, pupping, foraging, resting, and other known behaviors.


Wildlife have been known to demonstrate new disturbance behaviors around drones, or possibly not react with a known disturbance behavior – although physiological data shows they are stressed. It is important to document encounters with wildlife when you fly. Always consider the time of year and if you are in area where you often fly. Each day can present a new hazard even if it is not wildlife-centric.


It is advantageous for you to share your wildlife disturbance or encounters with the drone community. Your findings will improve your flight operational protocols and how you mitigate risk to wildlife and humans. I invite you to share your observations with the larger remote pilot community. Your contributions add value to the industry as a whole and create a conservation culture that will encourage sustainable drone operations and innovation for new applications that will benefit humanity and protect wildlife.


For more information on designing flight operational protocols and value propositions you can connect with Alicia at  Alicia provides 1:1 consultation for drone businesses interested in integrating new protocols to reduce wildlife disturbance. Schedule an appointment today.

Alicia Amerson

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