Anup Sahoo has accumulated vast experience in all aspects of enterprise software. His current focus is to develop products for Enterprise Collaboration, Open Innovation, Crowdsourcing, and Customer Co-Creation.
While working for 3M, Anup realized that Innovation can come from anywhere and from any size of the company. To realize this,he conceptualized a business platform, Ideapoke, which is an open innovation platform, where small firms can showcase their technologies and large corporates can post their R&D requirements.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Ideapoke is an open innovation platform, where small firms can showcase their technologies and large corporates can post their R&D requirements. In the back end, Ideapoke discovery engine searches for matching technology providers and bring the new technologies to Ideapoke platform. Its online platform deploys proprietary technology using big data analytics and matching algorithms to crowdsource technology partners across the globe and collaborate with the best solution providers, enabling customers to solve their R&D and product development challenges. At its core, IDEAPOKE helps organizations to discover, connect, and collaborate with partners to solve business problems.
Ideapoke has developed proprietary discovery engine to profile technologies and map appropriate technology solutions. We have various solutions based on the data that we collect like
- Technology Scouting – To find technology solution providers for specific innovation problems
- Technology Landscaping – To provide overall technology landscape for an interest area.
- Trigger Generator – Aggregate new technology innovations from various sources to come up with new innovative Ideas.
- Enterprise Connect – Innovation Management Software for enterprises.
- Open Innovation Gallery – A gallery to publish requirements and collect Ideas through crowdsourcing.
To look at the bigger picture, Ideapoke enables larger organizations to accelerate R&D of its products by connecting them to firms which are either already at the end point of the particular product’s R&D or are well on their way. This crowdsourcing method of integrating technology solutions is what will drive innovation towards the future. Circa 2015, Ideapoke lists a database of 980,000+ technologies, 76,000 companies across the globe doing niche R&D in different areas and 1900+ universities globally and the database continues to double once in every six months. By the end of 2016, Ideapoke aims to provide over a million technology innovation listings.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Prior to founding IDEAPOKE, I was a solution architect with 3M, where I lead and architected the company’s enterprise collaboration software used by R&D, marketing and sales teams to interact with the external partners and vendors of 3M worldwide. There I realized that Innovation can come from anywhere and from any size of the company. To realize this I felt the need to conceptualize a business platform which can facilitate Innovation as a Service. Now the motto is as it was before, that leveraging open innovation is much more powerful than using any rigid application. The simplicity of democratizing innovation and connecting industries with the crème de la crème of technologies within the same intuitive ecosystem is that breakthrough discoveries and innovation can come from anywhere.
What is your life mantra?
My life’s greatest mantra is to make something new that can serve the people. It’s easy to lose your ethics to earn money or sit in a comfortable position in a cushy company and get things done for the company. But it should all be to serve a purpose which is to make the world a better place. Which is why when we felt the need to bring India to the forefront of technology solutions (because let’s be honest, there are so many talented individuals in the country who can provide with disruptive and revolutionary technologies, but don’t get proper exposure). I am by nature, impatient and to many others, abrasive, yet my aim has always been to support ideas that enable the world with a better life.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Staying focused was the most challenging part. I had left my high paying job at a reputed company like 3M to work on the algorithm for Ideapoke for a year! The mental stress alone of the time period is overwhelming and demoralising. But the key was to focus on what the product could and would be one day and breaking a sweat now will only serve is for better in the future. Ideapoke was to be the gateway for us to connect enterprises who were willing to innovate, think ahead of time and most importantly have a vision. Which is why we were motivated to succeed no matter what.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We have very low attrition ratio because of high growth. While selecting candidates we carefully choose applicants who exhibit the passion for doing things differently and thinking out of the box. We clearly lay out the growth curve for them if they meet their deadlines on time and with efficiency. Transparency in work culture has been our strength which we intend to carry on for the productive workforce. Which is why our retaining capabilities are inherently strong.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Always learning
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Slack, Asana, Linkedin
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Meditation more than anything else.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Ah, that’s easy! Sleeping too much.
Answer in less than 50 words
Focus. A commitment to mutually reinforcing rules and marshalling coherent policies only helps promote alignment to the vision, offers clarity to objectives and priorities. The simple trick is to align innovation efforts with the company’s business strategies and more importantly- articulate it consistently.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Never let your ego come in the way of doing what is right. Always pay attention to what your team has to say, analyse the idea objectively and make an educated decision based on your experience or seek counsel of the individual who does.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Patience helps focus. It’s a struggle and only disciplining yourself to be patient and persistent will help you do that.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
To make Ideapoke become number one in the industry. Today, the world’s leading corporations, government, investors and leading technology companies value an idea against its potential for commercialization in the market and recognize that a number of such ideas can emerge only from co-creation and collaboration. To be ahead of the growth curve, in today’s complex and evolving marketplace, companies or businesses must find right ways to innovate faster and create market ready products. In such a scenario, ‘Open Innovation’ is becoming the key phase of cutting edge product development processes. Our vision for Ideapoke is to democratize innovation and create a business platform that facilitates ‘Innovation as a Service’.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
If I had to start my career again, I would begin with building a leaner startup model. Something that would help me focus on the nitty gritties in a simplistic manner and yield clear results swiftly.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Home town (Odhisha) , Bengaluru, Yosemite
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish