Revolutionary or Evolutionary: Are you set to realise the potential of IoT?

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A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit on the part that the Internet of Things (IoT) plays in ‘The Hyperconnected Economy’, got me thinking about large scale opportunity and what’s needed to realise it.

A few years ago I worked in a company preparing to IPO. To help us prepare, the company ran a workshop that in one brief exercise, helped me see the connection between personal contribution and what’s needed to drive corporate change.

The room was set out ‘cabaret’ style with groups of employees around tables. After a fair amount of ‘chalk and talk’ a facilitator asked the group to have a discussion on each table, and agree on a ‘mark out of ten’ for the degree of change that forming a new company presented. A score of 1 would be almost no change, 10 would be ‘revolutionary’ change.

Each table had a conversation, agreed their score and wrote it nice and large on some flip-chart paper. After a few noisy minutes of discussion, the facilitator asked the groups to hold up their scores. Everyone in the room looked around to see a range of numbers, mostly ranging between 7 and 10. Clearly the group appreciated that forming a new company was going to be a ‘revolutionary change’.

The facilitator then asked everyone in the room to consider what degree of change it would be for each of us personally – how much would we each need to change? The room was quiet with thought as we pondered the personal change that becoming a new company would mean.

Again, the facilitator asked for a show of scores and around the room, pages went up into the air. The scores this time however were different. Rather than the high scores for ‘revolutionary change’ as a company, the scores were far lower, mostly around the 3 to 5 range.

The facilitator said that with this difference, the benefits of the IPO would take longer to realise as the degree of company change was indeed likely to be ‘revolutionary’, but the personal degrees looked more ‘evolutionary’ — as it takes people to drive change.

When I read the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘Hyperconnected Organisations’ paper this morning, it reported that 57% of the Executives polled thought that the IoT was going to have a ‘revolutionary or significant’ effect on their organisation over the next three years, however only 19% of the organisations had appointed a Chief Digital Officer. This reminded me of the gap between organisational change and personal change.

The IoT offers significant opportunity, potentially up to $11trillion a year in 2025 according to McKinsey. Organisations will only realise this if they start to change now. Gartner forecasts that 5.5 million new ‘things’ will be connected every day in 2016 among them 274.6 million personal connected devices, an increase of 18.4%. We’re becoming increasingly connected at a personal level, but are we becoming connected at a corporate level at a pace to realise the benefits the IoT promises?

Let us know what you think about using the IoT in your organisation or find out about how Watson can help you realise the benefits of the IoT. Are you personally connected but your organisation has yet to prepare to realise the benefit of this high growth area?

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