Securing financial support through the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), ideXlab has just launched OPENISME, or the Open Platform for Innovative SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises).
With this platform, the company aims to create the new tools necessary to support and facilitate innovation among European SMEs, helping them establish new collaborative projects with universities and research centres.
Because large companies often have a budget to sponsor academic research and get involved in dedicated research partnerships, they get a fairly good view of the academic world and manage to build a small network of available experts, yet they can't be involved in everything that relates to their market. As for small companies, not having the resources to engage with research centres, they often lack this networking capability and can struggle to find the right people to help them innovate.
"Until now in Europe, most collaborative projects were geographically constrained, for example within regional clusters of innovation or poles of competitiveness", told us Jean-Louis Liévin, co-founder of ideXlab.
"What we can do with OPENISME is bring the right expert to even small companies, not only a knowledgeable person for the very specific problem they are trying to solve, but someone that is available and open-minded enough to be willing to collaborate", continues Liévin.
"You can type-in a few keywords, the engine then comes up with suggestions to clarify or reformulate your search. It also prompts you to define the sort of expertise you are after. Is it for a brand new idea, for a proof of concept, for prototyping, for a paper study or for IP and patents?
In only a few seconds, the search returns about fifty relevant experts, worldwide, and you can ask them all a question, anonymously"
Of course, not all identified experts may answer or may be available, but those who are willing to share and market their expertise will get back to the company and may ask more precisions before committing to a first meeting. But how does the search engine know the persons it suggests to contact are real experts in the first place?
ideXlab's proprietary algorithms takes into account bibliometric data and all other digital footprints in scientific publications and patents to evaluate the expert's level of competency.