Induct Launches SaaS-Based Innovation Tool

DN Staff

April 6, 2009

2 Min Read
Induct Launches SaaS-Based Innovation Tool

What do you get when you mix Web 2.0 and social networkingconcepts with a patented and customizable innovation process framework?According to Norwegian start-up company InductSoftware, the result is a Software-as-a-Service-based platform (SaaS) thatlets companies practice open innovation as part of an accessible Web-basedcommunity.

Based on the work of researchers and professors in the openinnovation field, Induct aims to counter the premise of traditional innovationtools, most of which target company employees and are software versions of theold-fashioned corporate suggestion box, according to David Burns, InductSoftware's CEO, formerly CEO of FastSearch & Transfer (FAST), a maker of search-engine technology that isnow a division of Microsoft Corp. Conversely, Induct, a true Web-hostedplatform, applies enterprise Web 2.0 technologies and social media practices tomake an Innovation Community accessible to internal company employees, as wellas external customers, partners, retailers and suppliers, as long as theappropriate security constraints are put into play.

"Traditionally, innovation has been an internally focuseddiscipline where people inside a company try to come up with new ideas, butthere's a huge amount of information locked away on the outside," Burns says."We want to let them participate in the process."

Using Induct's familiar "Facebook-type" interface,participants share ideas, collaborate and get feedback. Users can participatein discussion threads and post their own homepage profile, which advertisestheir specific skill sets to the rest of the Innovation Community. In addition,the software's process design framework ensures that all valuable ideas are "bubbledup" for input and action by managers and executives so valuable innovationsuggestions aren't lost at the lower levels of the organization.

"Because innovation management is relatively new and notformalized, the solutions are pretty much cobbled together and not consistentacross a department or even a division," Burns says. Induct's Web 2.0 style ofuser interface really appeals to people because they are used to it in terms ofhow to build a community, compared with other innovation platforms like Invention Machine's Goldfire,which are aimed more at the research and scientific communities, he says.

The other key differentiator of Induct is patentedtechnology that links a type of innovation to a customized ranking algorithm -an approach necessary, Burns says, because different types of innovation needto be treated differently. Induct has defined several types of innovation,including product innovation, process innovation, organizational innovation andtechnology innovation and embedded ranking algorithms for each into the Inductplatform. This approach enables companies to evaluate their particularinnovation in the best light for optimal decision making, he says.

The software, which has been pilot tested in Norway, isavailable immediately from Induct as a hosted service, starting at $15 peruser per month.

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