Goldfire 5.0 Takes Aim At Everyday Innovation

DN Staff

January 29, 2009

3 Min Read
Goldfire 5.0 Takes Aim At Everyday Innovation

With an eye towards opening up and making innovation practicesmore operational, Invention Machinehas stocked the latest version of Goldfire with new capabilities intended tomake the platform a more integral part of everyday development.

Goldfire5.0 features a new task-based approach and new user interface capabilitiesdesigned to walk users through the steps of innovation while allowing them totailor the business processes to suit their own innovation and developmentneeds. Invention Machine designed the new release in collaboration with keycustomers, including Whirlpool, Lifetime Brands and Baxter Healthcare, in response to theirrequest to extend innovation practices to gain a competitive edge.

Sustainable innovation is particularly critical in a downeconomy where companies are having to do more with less, according to JimTodhunter, Invention Machines' chief technology officer. "Companies have todeliver competitive products and they have to get it right the firsttime-that's where we come in," Todhunter says. "The new release addresses atask many customers told us they're struggling with. That is how to extendinnovation beyond the occasional large project of trying to build a new productor find a new market, but rather make it as part of everyday work."

One of the primary new capabilities of Goldfire setting thestage for so-called "everyday innovation" is the new task-based approach.Leveraging the software's built-in business processes and knowledge bases,Goldfire 5.0 maps out the path to innovation for specific tasks, allowingengineers or researchers to get started without the labor-intensive set up ofcreating an innovation workflow. The software is configured to show usersvisually where they are in the process and what the next steps are, acceleratingtheir time to innovation, Todhunter says. The software comes ready to handle 14pre-defined innovation tasks, but users can configure it to support their owninnovation practices or tailor the ones provided to better fit with theirorganization.

"This is one of the most significant features in terms ofenabling people to apply innovation methods," Todhunter says. "It used torequire a certain expertise to understand how to apply the software toinnovation tasks."

Dave Pierson, senior design engineer at Magnet, was recently able to leverageGoldfire 5.0's task-orientation to help remedy a product defect much moreexpeditiously. The firm, which collaborates with clients on developmentinitiatives, was facing a Van de Graaffgenerator-type problem when working on ThredTaper, a machine used to automate fittings. After multiple uses, staticelectricity was building up in the plastic tape cartridge and causing feedingproblems with the threading, according to Pierson. By using Goldfire 5.0,Pierson's team was able to identify the cause and solve the problem the firsttime around, he explains. "Goldfire's 5.0's `fix a product defect' task allowedme to come up with the least expensive solution and get it right the firsttime," Pierson says. "It took me through the steps, saving me time andresources. It also saved on cost by identifying the least expensive solutionwithout having to use a trial and error method."

In addition to the new task orientation, Goldfire 5.0features a desktop portal designed to provide instant access to what'shappening in the company's innovation world. The new dynamic widget sits on thedesktop and details tasks and projects, pushing information out to thecommunity. The software's new metrics capabilities provides management with avisual picture of what innovation activities are going on within thecompany-from what tasks are being performed to what assets are being used.

Along with the Goldfire 5.0 announcement, Invention Machinesaid that existing users will get unlimited access to online computer-basedtraining courses, including the new 5.0 courseware, at no additional cost.

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