Corporate and startup worlds can learn from each other

Dublin-based InfoMotion Sports Technologies Inc. is taking the tech world by storm with its invention — a huge gamble that’s paying off in awards, limelight and global recognition.

Along with being featured in Popular Science and Time, the company’s product — the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball — was honored at the recent International CES in Las Vegas, the global gathering place for consumer technology. The event has been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.

Taking risks

CEO Michael Crowley, who is based in Boston, spoke frankly on the risks that startups take and InfoMotion’s innovative journey over the years.

Three years ago, the company made a bet, which is now paying off. The challenge was how to create an experience for a customer or business partner that would set them apart.
And 94Fifty is a way to concretely show people — customers and business partners — what InfoMotion offers as a tech company.

“Most companies would look at it as extremely risky to take on a challenge like that,” he says. “That’s what innovators do — they take on challenges like that all the time. But if you don’t do it right, you can get boxed in almost immediately.”

Crowley feels the corporate world has more access to resources, innovation and people, but its innovation is a much slower moving object.

Looking at companies like InfoMotion and what they are able to do would provide the corporate world with a little perspective. By taking a step back, you should try to focus on and consider the opportunities more than the risks to help grow and improve your products and services.

Being disciplined

But I also think startups and innovators can learn a few things from the corporate world — namely discipline.

Crowley briefly talked about the discipline to gather information, look at it from an objective standpoint and then adjusting. And this is an area corporate America knows well.
Discipline is one of the things that startups seem to have to learn, especially in their operations and budgeting.

Discipline and taking risks are two ends of the same spectrum, so I think the best and most successful companies, such as Apple, have the right ability to do both. You don’t want to be too far on one side.