Anup Sahoo  FounderDiversified businesses in the modern world need an equally diverse and open gamut of solutions for their various business challenges. The need of the hour, or even the minute for that matter, is to connect with the right technology service provider who have the right capabilities and the USPs to solve those problems. In such a scope of work, Ideapoke acts as a platform whereby service providers can showcase their technological capabilities and the consumers (other business entities) can connect for solutions to their Research & Development (R&D) and product development needs.

The enterprise

Based on the data collected, the solutions available on offer include technology scouting, technology landscaping (providing an overall technology landscape for a specific area), trigger generator (aggregating new innovations from sources for innovative ideas), enterprise connect (innovation management software for businesses), and the open innovation gallery (an open gallery to publish requirements and collecting ideas through crowd-sourcing). All of this comes together with the deployment of proprietary technology using big data analytics and matching algorithms ultimately connecting the right service providers and their customers. To put numbers to the facts, Ideapoke has a database of 2.4 million+ technologies, 180,000 companies the world over doing niche-area R&D and also 2700+ universities engaged in various areas. By end of 2016, Idapoke just might have 5 million+ listings.

Ideapoke came into being in 2012 after the founder Anup Sahoo used his extensive experience across the product development space to set up his venture, where he found that innovation and solutions to problems could be sourced from virtually anywhere in the country. Explaining the seed source of his inspiration for Ideapoke, he says, “Prior to founding IDEAPOKE, I was a solution architect with 3M, where I lead and architected the company’s enterprise collaboration software used by R&D, marketing and sales teams to interact with the external partners and vendors of 3M worldwide. There I realized that Innovation can come from anywhere and from any size of company. To realize this, I felt the need to conceptualize a business platform which can facilitate Innovation as a Service.” Thus the need to leverage open innovation seemed more important, than perhaps sticking to using a rigid application.

Who is interested?

This platform, being relatively new but focused on innovation, has found a variety of consumers. The main and perhaps the biggest consumer is the government, which has focused on innovation in policy making in recent times. With campaigns like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ well in process, services like Twitter Seva has come to the forth, whereby dialogues take place more openly. Due to the new decision making process and policy formation for transparency, lowering of administration and compliance costs and reducing of obstacles to entry, the government has ensured a better environment for growth. This will be promoting collaborations between small and large enterprises, which becomes essential for growth and development of the former and allied benefits to the later. The next group to benefit from the ‘open innovation’ development are the mid-sized enterprises, that are tapping into resources outside their ‘existing networks’, which increase their business potential and also help them avail solutions which are otherwise hard to find sometimes, in larger enterprises.

What is the scope?

The potential for the industry includes mainly the large corporations, who are increasingly being open to the idea of ‘open innovation’. Smaller companies and start-ups are looking to tap into this space, which provides a wide network for future business development and even mentorship for future internal and external growth. This is a space even large MNCs can be a part of for various collaborations and mentorship in different market conditions, which in turn, help reduce financial risks and aids a quicker decision making process. If the smaller business succeeds after coming on to the platform, their capabilities to in-source development and innovation increases, thus giving them a greater say in the partnership process with their clients, no matter the size of the latter.

Also read: Nokia Announces Open Innovation Challenge, Focused On IoT

Comparison of traditional models and Ideapoke’s innovation based model

A large section of the market is of the belief that traditional B2B enterprises do not innovate enough, take a longer time in doing so, or simply do not look for alternative routes for innovations. On a closer look, across a longer time spectrum, it makes the enterprise much more risk averse, also because of the traditional long development cycles. Along with this, it brings to light another pain-point; tapping into the most influential crowd they have, i.e. their own workforce. Tapping into them as something beyond obvious resource is still an issue. Traditionally based R&D companies also bring to light some other pain points:
- Around 80 per cent of the current patents in the various fields, are not commercially ready to be deployed.
- Information technology itself, is not structured or readily available.
- Most of the times, there is repeated research on the same area of technology.

Ideapoke’s model on a comparative scale, is based on accumulation, organization, and evolution of data. They use Natural Language Processing (NLP), Big-Data analytics, and machine learning algorithms to arrive at solutions for problems and challenges. Coming to the process of assisting organizations with their search and collaboration process, followed by tapping into crowd sourced intelligence, is when business challenges are most effectively met. This exercise generally ends up with greater value for service provide, as well as their consumers because the end product or final product is something comparatively innovative and fills the gap as originally intended.

The next advantage in comparison is the tapping of financial costs by encouraging flexibility and innovation, which applies to the supply chain and R&D units as well. These components of enterprises get a rejig of cost structures and intelligence development and a greater market access. This access takes place because of the lack of geographical boundary limitations and brings with it the advantage of a cost-effective market access.

Conclusion

The industry is moving towards open innovation for various reasons and some of which includes the path of growth for the future. Instead of being stuck with financially cumbersome process of new market access, R&D, and solution hunting, open innovation can connect the right parties for creating a great final product and simply carving out a solution for business challenges at hand. The answers businesses may not have perhaps can be availed from a source located in a very different geography, but something within reach, based on what open innovation happens to be a concept.

Also read: Open Source: It’s More About Consistency Than Cost