BEST PRACTICES FOR HARDWARE AND IOT STARTUPS
For start-ups developing hardware and IoT products – the challenges they face are very different from start-ups developing pure software products. Longer development cycles, complex manufacturing processes, as well as heavy costs associated with fixing design and manufacturing errors are all difficult parts of the hardware development journey.
These are just a few examples why mentorship and professional guidance from folks who have been through the process can often be a game changer.
We came across this article by StartupBlink which offers some really great guidance for hardware and IoT startups looking to get started on solid footing.
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WHY OUR PLANET DEMANDS INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE
Overpopulation, resource scarcity and climate change are amongst the greatest challenges of our time. With a predicted global population of 9.8 billion by 2050, we’re in a rush to figure out how to feed a much larger population. As a result, the agricultural sector is another example where urgent need is accelerating the rate of innovation.
One of many ag-tech innovation stories unfolding in Canada is that of Nexus Robotics who, in collaboration with our team at Inertia, are working on an autonomous weed picking robot that uses cameras and machine learning to distinguish between weeds and crops. This kind of advancement in agricultural automation has the potential to profoundly improve labor efficiency while decreasing our use of harmful herbicides.
To read more about why our planet demands innovation in agriculture, check out this article by Tina Wung for RocketSpace.
COMPANY CULTURE = CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
A thoughtfully fostered culture equals happy employees, which equals happy customers, which equals better business for everyone. This was the mantra championed by former Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, who sadly passed away late last month. Tony’s legacy of reinventing customer service started with taking great care of his employees. It’s an approach that we share at Inertia and one that continues to translate into us being able to provide exceptional experiences to our customers.
If you’re looking to build company culture that inspires your team to do better, here is an article we’d like to share by Ed Nathanson for the LinkedIn Talent Blog that includes 7 steps every small business should take.
WANT TO AMPLIFY YOUR INNOVATION? FOSTER PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY WITHIN YOUR TEAM FIRST.
“The researchers found that what really mattered was less about who is on the team, and more about how the team worked together. In order of importance: Psychological Safety, Dependability, Structure & Clarity, Meaning & Impact.”
This guide by Google re:Work breaks down what it takes to make a team truly effective. It also includes a downloadable PDF with actionable tips for managers and team members to help create team environments where everyone can contribute.
WHICH INNOVATION PROJECTS SHOULD YOU PURSUE AND WHICH SHOULD YOU ABANDON? THIS SCORECARD CAN HELP.
We work with a range of clients from small start-ups & entrepreneurs to corporate enterprises. While everyone is trying to innovate and expand, how do you decide which innovation paths to continue with and which to close off? This article by Tendayi Viki for The Strategyzer, describes an “Innovation Project Scorecard” they use to help evaluate how much evidence innovation teams have for the desirability, feasibility, viability and adaptability of their business idea.
“Leaders often struggle with picking the right innovation projects. It’s even more difficult to select the right ideas in today’s extreme market uncertainty when you’re pivoting your business model or value propositions to assure the survival of your company.”
HELP FIND YOUR PRODUCT MARKET FIT WITH THIS VALUE PROPOSITION CANVAS
If you’re not testing and validating the value of your product concept with your target customer early and often in your product development journey, the odds of success are stacked against you. This article by Alexander Osterwalder helps take you through the process of validating your product.
“The Canvas with its 9 building blocks focuses on the big picture. The Value Proposition Canvas zooms in on two of those building blocks, the Value Proposition and the Customer Segment, so you can describe them in more detail and analyze the “fit” between them.”
LOOKING FOR A CO-FOUNDER? HERE ARE SOME KEY QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING BEFORE YOU TAKE THE LEAP
Being friends doesn’t mean you’ll work well together as co-founders. Check out this list of questions you should ask your potential co-founder by the Founder Institute.
“Forming a productive co-founder team is a critical step in the process of building a company, yet many people simply jump into co-founder relationships without ever making sure their counterparts are on the same page. For example, just because your co-founder is a long-time friend or family member doesn’t mean that they want the same things that you do.”
VR & AR TRENDS IN MECHANICAL DESIGN
“The last thing we’ll talk about for 2020 in mechanical design is VR & AR technology trends. Your every penny is going into your project, rent for a large design and test studio is not in your budget – it’s not in ours either. Enter the studio you never thought you had room for, VR. Your workbench just went virtual and you can create and test to your heart’s delight.”
FAILURE CAN BE ONE OF OUR GREATEST TEACHERS: INSIDE THE DOWNFALL OF DOPPLER LABS
We came across this post from David Pierce on Wired about the downfall of Doppler Labs. This “hardware is hard” excuse has to stop. The world has been designing and mass manufacturing products for well over a century now with pretty good success. Some hardware start-ups and their investors can be so impatient and over-expectant that they simultaneously overspend and take shortcuts and as a result, drive themselves into the ground.
BRILLIANTLY USELESS PRODUCT DESIGNS
We had a good laugh when we discovered “The Uncomfortable” on the Bored Panda blog. It’s a collection of deliberately inconvenient everyday objects by Athens-based architect Katerina Kamprani. My favourite useless product design has to be #11 Inflatable Door Knob. What’s yours?
THE MAN MADE WORLD IS HORRIBLY DESIGNED, BUT COPYING NATURE HELPS
Nature can act as a powerful influence when designing products. This video gives a fascinating look into biomimicry – the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus.