Is it better to lead or follow?

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There are a lot of companies selling technology services to the construction industry. Reading their websites often yield pitches like; “New”, “Innovative”, “Unique”, “Industry Leading”, and so on. In truth, a number of these companies are simply executing a ‘close follower’ business strategy. Few of them were actually at the leading edge of innovation in developing the core concepts and proving the markets for these new services or products. They may well however, be very good at picking up on a positive trend and taking advantage of it. Despite the patent laws, there is no rule in business that says the innovator is the only person or entity that can take advantage of their innovation or ideas.

This is on my mind as our company goes through the tedious and expensive process of patenting some of our company’s latest innovative work. We can protect our particular implementation but nuanced implementation of our concepts and ideas will inevitably come to market. We know this as we have observed others over the years whose feature set seem remarkably similar to what we offered … a few years ago.

There is no surprise, shock or dismay on our part when we see this manifest itself in the market. In many ways it is satisfying to know that we actually have an excellent track record of reading, understanding and implementing what the market needs and wants. Our clients benefit from having several years more of additional efficiency or new revenues as a result of working with our technologies. In our case when faced with the questions of whether to lead or follow the answer is clear … we choose to be leaders!