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With IoT, Think Big, Start Small, Scale Quickly

Companies with Internet of Things initiatives could learn a thing or two from an old philosophy from business coaches.

Companies with Internet of Things initiatives could learn a thing or two from an old philosophy from business coaches. 

Some companies in the Internet of Things space think they are innovative when, in reality, their vision is bland. But another common mistake is for companies to invest so much in a bold vision that they lose track of the practical. 

But to borrow from an old business philosophy, IoT leaders should be bold in their thinking but small and pragmatic when launching new projects. Companies that manage to do this have the potential to make a lasting impression in an industry and achieve actual results in the process.

Let’s break this down for the Internet of Things industry. Thinking big means contemplating the transformation of an entire industry. How will it affect you and others across the globe? Once you have done your research, you’ll know what technology you need to be successful and have the building blocks in place, which should span both hardware and software. 

In the pure software world, many startups have come up with novel ideas that are easy to copy. Consider Evernote, the organization app that has been copied by Microsoft’s OneNote, Apple’s Notes, Google Keep, and others. 

Companies that blend software and hardware, however, can have an advantage. Apple, for instance, blurs the lines between the two, and Google is beginning to follow the same strategy with its Pixel smartphone. Tesla is another example of this hardware-software convergence. The company is also an innovator of battery technology and a leader in embedding novel software functionality into their vehicles. 

Internet of Things companies would be well served to learn from this by innovating in both the digital and physical realms. 

Once you have a big perspective, you can start small—starting with projects that are easy wins. At this stage, you should also identify the trends in your industry niche. Study your competition’s weaknesses and work to design and processes to help combat these shortcomings. Consider adjusting the structure and then release products that address these concerns. As you study the competitive landscape, also look for partners. Chances are, other technology companies will be willing to work with you to address their internal concerns. The Internet of Things is too big of a thing for any firm to master alone.

It’s at this point that you scale quickly. You begin to unroll solutions quickly, release prototypes, and aggressively work to be the leader in the industry. The goal at this time is to show you are on the cutting edge of things and to drive the process further harder. As you do this, make sure you keep looking at the future and continue to reinvent your firm to respond to fluxing market conditions. Even though you started small, you have cornered a section of the market. That way, people will keep looking to you as a leader.

As long as you are innovative, and follow through with the process, there is no reason why you cannot succeed. Mobile technology has used this approach for years, and it continues to propel the smartphone industry even though that industry has matured in recent years. With more devices headed toward total connectivity, it will pay to be the company that decides to start small and scale quickly and unleash the new trends that will propel the Internet of Things into the future.

Bill specializes in IoT recruitment, he’s spent the last 20 years in executive search helping candidates and hiring managers in the software and professional services industry. His website is

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