Research for Kauffman Fellows: Internet of Things (IoT) Disruption Best Practices for Executives of Leading Companies
In addition to my day job at White Star Capital, I am currently doing academic research for the Kauffman Venture Capital Fellows Program, a 2-year program where Fellows follow a structured curriculum with an individual development plan, executive coaching, facilitated mentoring, and peer learning and networking. Every Fellow chooses an area of research, and publishing the research is a requirement for graduation.
One of my primary areas of investing at White Star is Internet of Things (IoT). This is natural: I’m the computer science geek at White Star and my operating background is largely focused on big data, analytics, and smart actionable data. My focus on IoT is primarily on the “smart” aspect of “smart connected devices“: the analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applied to data from connected devices is what makes the data actionable & insightful. White Star portfolio companies in IoT that I have worked with and/or served on boards for are: mnubo, Gymtrack, and KeyMe.
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the web was a young technology. It disrupted many companies, most notably Amazon displacing Borders and Netflix displacing Blockbuster. Just as the web was the up-and coming technology 15-20 years ago, IoT is the young technology transforming businesses in 2015-2020.
Today’s large company executive is more likely than Borders’ and Blockbusters’ executives to be aware of the hunger that startups have at trying to displace them. At the same time, IoT presents new opportunities for large companies to grow their business.
For my Kauffman research, I am researching the best practices that executives at large companies, often leaders in their sectors, are adopting to protect their market cap from disruption by IoT startups and innovators.
- How do these executives decide between various options, such as:
- creating an innovation group
- asking existing teams to innovate
- creating a corporate venture group
- acquiring companies, or
- keeping to status quo?
- How have they chosen to implement the strategies, assign budget and staff the talent?
- How do they view the risk of cannibalizing existing products?
- What are the best practices for companies to address the common belief that they are struggling to innovate?
I will speak with executives from companies in all relevant sectors, including: Agriculture, Mining/Oil & Gas, Insurance, Home, Consumer, Retail, Factory, Transportation. For example, here are the kinds of companies that I would like to interview executives:
Interviews will be kept short to 20 minutes. The results of this academic research will be published in Kauffman Fellows Press. Data will be aggregated, and confidentiality of comments and data from participating companies & executives will be thoroughly preserved.
PS: Many thanks to Maxence Bernier, an intern who is actively helping me with the research.