Accelerating innovation thanks to AI
The digital assistant of IdeaLab.Systems is to provide companies with information for the innovation process in real time
“Creating innovation is a labour-intensive process,” says Andreas Scheel. “Market and patent research alone takes up a lot of time.” The innovation manager is out to change this – using artificial intelligence (AI). To do so, he has set up the start-up IdeaLab.Systems with a small team.
“We want to make innovation processes more efficient and thus accelerate them,” he says. “For this purpose, we have developed a system that we like to call the ‘Alexa’ of innovation processes.” The device developed by IdeaLabs will soon do in company meeting rooms what digital assistants are already doing in people’s living rooms.
Listening, looking things up, analysing, searching for answers. “Our tool will make organisations more creative and support them in making decisions in the course of the innovation process.”
When a company strives to develop new products and services, its creative minds usually start meeting for brainstorming sessions. Afterwards, research tasks are handed out. They are not only given to in-house staff but also to market research companies or consultancies. When they deliver results, the meetings continue.
This costs time and money. “We want to supply all stakeholders with relevant information in real time,” says Scheel. “Information on competitors, patents, trends but also opinions on a certain subject from social media. This then enables them to make more targeted decisions, to get creative, and to make the entire innovation process more efficient.”
Scheel knows the innovation process all too well. For the past seven years, the innovation manager worked at a research consortium of Free University Berlin. He was at the interface between innovation managers and the clients on the market. Working in this environment led to the idea for his start-up. “We provide our clients with a system that listens in to every meeting during the innovation process,” he says. “It recognises what is being said and looks up additional, innovation-relevant information from various data sources for certain keywords.” In a matter of seconds, the system finds out whether somebody else has already patented an idea. Or whether anybody in Europe is interested in such a thing. What the target group thinks about it on social media. And which supplier produces which required component. The result is given out on screens, overhead projectors, or speakers and can be integrated into the further creative process.
“We just launched our business and are working with pre-filled, project-specific data containers during the start-up phase,” says Scheel. “So, we compiled the data in advance and the system choses from these.” In future, however, the tool will access a multitude of data sources in real time. It will be more than a talking search engine. “We don’t just want to supply information. We also want to inspire,” says the innovation manager. In future, the system will see the bigger picture and put together information on how certain problems were solved in other areas. Maybe the food industry has already created the perfect solution for a problem that a carmaker is currently struggling with. The jargon calls this cross-industry innovation.
“Around 98 percent of all innovation is the result of combining things that already exist,” says Andreas Scheel. “Like Frankenstein’s monster, innovations are made up of many different parts. What we want to create is a Kreativmonster. It’s called artificial creativity. This is where we see the future heading.”
Kai Dürfeld for POTENZIAL