Conference Report – The Power to Innovate

by Drew Boyd

Invention Machine's Power to Innovate ConferenceCongratulations to the team at Invention Machine for hosting this week’s conference, Power to Innovate, at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. The theme of the conference centered around the Innovation Intelligence EcosystemTM and how companies can boost performance by coordinating information, communities, and innovation activities. Invention Machine’s premier product, Goldfire, is at the center of this ecosystem.

“Goldfire is a unique innovation software platform that transforms ideas into commercial products – generating and validating concepts and making innovation a sustainable process. Designed with engineers, scientists and researchers in mind, Goldfire automates every day innovation tasks – from identifying a new market to developing a new product to improving existing product offerings – and empowering users with a repeatable process. Fusing proven innovation methods for generating ideas along with advanced technologies for accessing precise concepts from corporate and worldwide knowledge sources, Goldfire stimulates creative thinking and speeds inventive problem solving—helping product development engineers, scientists and researchers to quickly conceive and validate ideas thus fueling product pipelines.”

The latest release, 5.5, should greatly enhance usability of the product especially by groups outside of R&D such as marketing and M&A. Jim Belfiore, Certified Innovation Master & Senior Director at Invention Machine, demonstrated how he researched the disease, lymphoma. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of insights he created using Goldfire 5.5.

The entire conference was followed on Twitter compliments of Andrea Meyer. Check it out at #P2I09. Here are some other highlights from the conference:

  • Jim Todhunter, Chief Technology Officer at Invention Machine, shared their technology roadmap and how Goldfire will enhance research, not just search capability around a topic. He shared a sneak peak at release 6.0 and some of the new features to enhance collaboration, both internally and externally. Jim also presented an “Innovation Practice Maturity Model.” This four level model helps companies understand where they need to head to increase and sustain innovation.
  • Randy Schiestl, VP Research and Development of Boston Scientific, shared their collective experience adopting Goldfire and using it across the enterprise.
  • Jim Belfiore presented “Collaborative Innovation” and how to leverage Goldfire’s capabilities in team settings. Later, Jim Todhunter addressed it head on with a presentation on Open Innovation.

I am impressed with Goldfire, and I am particularly interested in how it could intersect with other technologies such as:

  • Virtual reality like Second Life and the simulations from Visual Purple. As Edward Tufte notes, we need to escape “Flatland” and get ourselves out of two dimensional computer screens and into richer learning and sensing environments. Embedding the output of Goldfire into a three dimensional world could add context and usability.
  • Preferencing systems such as those used by Amazon, Pandora, and others that allow users to continuously refine and enhance choices by “thumbs up/thumbs down” voting.
  • Pattern recognition approaches. Marketers particularly need to see patterns emerging about their brands within the social web and within formal literature. Combining the output of Goldfire with data visualization might help marketers do this quicker and more effectively.
  • Mass scaling. Goldfire aggregates information from multiple sources, both internally and externally. Could it be used in a more domestic, non-corporate setting to enhance people’s standard of living? A simple tool like Google Reader aggregates pre-selected website information using RSS feeds. Goldfire far outstrips this. Could individuals use a lighter version of Goldfire to collect their daily news given the shortcomings of traditional printed newspapers?

Invention Machine’s CMO, Jeff Boehm, shared an interesting statistic about the companies participating at this conference. Those companies have outperformed the market 11.5% over the last 13 months.

Message: innovate to grow.


Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at https://twitter.com/drewboyd

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