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Innovation engine matches experts with your projects, globally By Julien happich Founded in 2011, French startup ideXlab has developed a very specialized search engine, one that shifts through patents, academic papers, specialized industrial databases and even social networks to establish expert profiles and match them to your projects. 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. OPENISME has been operational since the beginning of 2014 and ideXlab has already secured large industrial customers such as Thales, Airbus or Schneider- Electrique. The reason these large groups finance such an initiative is that it now takes them only a few seconds to identify key motivated experts even outside their traditional business networks, says Liévin. In some cases, it is a conscious decision to look outside the confined box of business-as-usual. With this portal, Liéven also opens the door to SMEs willing to share some expertise. So in the end, he offers a cross-fertilizing innovation portal for companies of all calibres, across all regions of the globe. For now, ideXlab has struck some partnership in France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Greece and Turkey to promote the platform regionally across Europe. The business model for OPENISME is still in the making. In some cases, ideXlab offers monthly subscriptions for searches as well as some level of technical support. That can include anonymity, in that case, ideXlab plays the intermediary and can even perform a preliminary screening by interviewing the candidate experts. Liéven is still exploring different business models so the different players get proper remuneration and all benefit from using the platform. He encourages even small companies to market their know-how and hopes that in the future, the OPENISME platform will become the equivalent of an experts’ social network. PUBLISHER André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 169819476 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net Peter Clarke +44 776 786 55 93 peter.clarke@eetimes.be Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Accounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2015 by European Busines Pres SA Chaussée de Louvain 533, 1380 Lasne, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. Company Number: 0461357437 RPM: Nivelles. Volume 17, Issue 6 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe © 2015 E.B.P. SA All rights reserved. P 304128 european business press 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe June 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


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