To Accelerate Innovation, Knowledge Enable Innovation Workers
By Rebecca Henry, Director of Marketing InventionMachine.com
Innovation is knowledge-intensive and characterized by iterative phases of opportunity analyses, problem-solving and decision making. But making the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time to enable innovation is a tremendous challenge for most organizations – particularly when that that right idea lies outside of one's company, industry or domain of expertise.
Repeatable, sustainable innovation comes to those organizations that arm their engineers, scientists and researchers with tools to help them solve problems, more precisely access and leverage internal and external knowledge, and share and exchange that knowledge with their peers.
Invention Machine Goldfire, the Innovation Intelligence Platform from Invention Machine, integrates proven ideation and problem solving tools and methods with advanced knowledge retrieval capabilities to leverage relevant concepts (the right knowledge) from corporate and worldwide intellectual assets. This marriage of high-level concept extraction and problem-solving capabilities ensures innovation workers are better informed and more creative and comprehensive in their thinking.
When Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil needed to resolve the issue of wax build-up in crude oil pumping equipment, the company turned to Invention Machine Goldfire.
In extreme environments like the North Sea, long transport distances in deeper water depths and more mature fields means greater likelihood of wax deposition. Costs to remedy a clogged pipeline are staggering such that, sometimes, wells must be abandoned altogether.
To find counter-measures to the wax build-up issue, Statoil scientists first leveraged Goldfire's problem definition and analysis capabilities. Here, they identified the core issues they needed to solve in order to address the wax build-up. Next, Statoil scientists used Goldfire's solution generating tools and methods to identify novel techniques that might address those core problems.
Initial ranking of concepts was done using Goldfire's Solution Ranking, helping the Statoil team to determine which concepts warranted further, more detailed research.
To perform this detailed research, Statoil leveraged Goldfire's powerful semantic research engine. The intuitive natural language interface supports English, German, French and Japanese queries and content, including unique simultaneous cross-language results summarization – a critical benefit since both content and project teams are often multi-lingual, as was the case for Statoil. Far beyond delivering a pile of documents, Goldfire's semantic research engine understands functional requirements and design intentions and, thus, can return a prioritized list of high-quality concepts and ideas that offer relevant insights and possible solutions.
In researching concepts within Goldfire, the Statoil scientists leveraged Goldfire's extensive collection of worldwide patents and access to the Deep-Web as well as other content designed to stimulate ideation and speed inventive problem-solving.
The team also researched the company's own technical content – project notes, test results, internal reports, trade studies, material specs, email and discussion databases, and more – all of which had previously been available to them, but had not been easily mined without the use of Goldfire's semantic engine. With Goldfire, Statoil scientists are able to rapidly locate precisely relevant concepts from corporate and worldwide knowledge sources – in the context of the problems they are trying to solve – and to then work collaboratively to solve those problems.
Working with Goldfire, the Statoil team quickly identified several new and valuable ideas for which they are now pursuing patents. Says Rainer Hoffman, senior research scientist for Statoil "Goldfire helped us structure our ideas and innovation process – helping us generate solutions to the serious issue of wax build-up and premature pipeline abandonment. Considering the maintenance cost and lifetime value of just one pipeline, our work is an important building block, and significant."