How IBM Builds New Businesses

Four ways Big Blue... gets even bigger.

Think Big...Really Big

Look for opportunities that can become profitable billion-dollar businesses in five to seven years. You'll probably find them by talking to customers rather than to brilliant researchers in the labs, who are looking further ahead.

Bring In The A-Team

Growth is too important to trust to novices. Tap your most talented and experienced leaders — senior people who are secure enough in their accomplishments that they can afford to fail. That might mean taking star managers away from your core businesses.

Start Small

Resist the impulse to staff up quickly. Learn from pilot programs' "first of a kind" engagements with key customers, and get clarity about the business before you ramp up.

Find New Ways To Measure

In the early years, don't try to gauge success by revenue and profits, as you would in an established business. Instead, look at the feedback from market trials and partnerships.

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