Ideapoke: Channelling the Power of the Crowd
Date: Monday , December 09, 2013
Back in 2003, outsourcing was a major technology trend that brought a change in the industry and the way it functioned. Ten year later, the tech industry is taking the concept of outsourcing and adding a twist to it.
Instead of outsourcing the work to a certain offshore company that would provide cost effective labour; companies are today leveraging the power of the crowd to find better solutions, ie, crowdsourcing. However all crowdsourcing platforms do not necessarily make use of the large community of talented students who are looking for relevant industry exposure as well. Realizing this gaping hole where the broad spectrum of companies (small-medium-large) and the broad student community (beyond the top tier, metro based colleges) were not involved, Anup Sahoo decided to build Ideapoke, a social innovation platform to engage and harness the collective intelligence of students, employees, customers, vendors or partners to solve business challenges.
Ideapoke enables capture of ideas and feedback anywhere, anytime and allows a unique way of filtering and selecting ideas that align with the enterprises strategic goals. Rewards, incentives and transparency into how ideas are executed provide the motivation to engage the different stakeholders. \"There are smart minds out there whom we can reach and there are companies that cannot afford to create their own platforms that can reach such a wide audience. More importantly companies can no longer just stick to traditional in-house R&D to sustain the pace of development,\" explains Anup.
Founded in 2011 and based in Fremont, California Ideapoke enables organizations to solve business problems by crowdsourcing from a global pool of talent. Ideapoke initially launched the enterprise connect platform that enabled companies to tap into the collective intelligence of employees and external communities like customers, vendors. The company also provides the University connect solution, an offering to create an open innovation platform to connect students and industry. For companies, this is a low cost approach to problem solving and they can identify the best talents in the academic world. For students, this solution provides the real world experience to complement their academic learning and get rewarded for their ideas and solutions.
Strengthening the Eco-System
Having received seed funding from Saven Technologies and angel investors from Silicon-Valley, Ideapoke is establishing the initial part of the innovation eco-system that Anup has envisioned. It is centered around community building and providing a problem solving, idea generation platform for companies. There are different outcomes that are possible out of this and will range from finding solutions that will be implemented right away, to identifying talent and also helping companies establish their brand across campuses. We can see how this can grow into sponsorship of student projects, IP commercialization, finding technology partners, etc.
\"As a company our business model would still be as an enabler of open innovation eco-system versus actual implementor. But our evolution as company is starting at ideation and will evolve as an enabler for implementing ideas in the future,\" adds Anup.
Ideapoke\'s vision is to democratize innovation and create a platform that provides \"Innovation as a Service\". The company is well on its way to harness the next generation of innovation.