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‘Managing Intellectual Property Risks Must For Open Innovation And Crowd Sourcing’

Anup Sahoo, the founder of Ideapoke spoke to BW Businessworld about the challenges faced by small firms at innovations and the scope for open innovation in India

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The California-based Ideapoke, the online platform to provide open innovation, manages over 1.8 lakh companies across the globe from retail, technology, consumer goods to food and beverages and helps in connecting, solving business problems and collaboration of the corporates with the start-ups.

Anup Sahoo, the founder of Ideapoke spoke to BW Businessworld about the challenges faced by small firms at innovations and the scope for open innovation in India.


How does Ideapoke contribute towards connecting big companies with small firms who are involved in solving R&D problems?
Ideapoke, an open innovation platforms where small firms can show case their technologies and large corporates can post their R&D requirements by using big data analytics and matching algorithms to crowdsource technology partners across the globe and collaborate with the best solution providers, enabling customers solve their R&D and product development challenges.

Ideapoke helps organizations to discover, connect, and collaborate with partners to solve business problems. We grew at 93 per cent Q-o-Q last year.

What are the challenges do you think these small firms/startups encounter while collaborating with MNCs?

Reach is a critical problem that is distressing the SMBs and big enterprises from establishing an effective line of communication. Large enterprises need to properly vet the company that promises delivery of technology.

On the flipside, we have noticed that entrepreneurs feel less confident about the success of an innovative collaboration with a large organization due to internal hierarchical and decision making differences. There are threats of losing IP. There is a difference in work culture which creates issues for collaboration.

Also, start-ups are focused on their key value proposition which often comes in the way of the corporate business strategy. Because partnership with a large company provides access to more customers and a wider network which is beneficial to a fresh player out in the market.

Do you think these SME's are vital to meet world innovation standards? If so how?

Most of the new innovations happen by small set of people starting from a garage kind of setup. These SMEs contribute majorly to growth of countries overall growth. Also they generate employment. They provide as much as two-thirds of all employment, according to a recent survey of 104 countries.

But, SME sector suffers from lack of workforce skills and administrative capabilities. Their try fast fail fast is very much risk oriented compared to the risk aversion model of big companies. There is a rising need to support the innovation ecosystem because it positively contributes to the development of the knowledge economy to deliver high level products, systems, business strategies and of course better information and potentially stronger efficiency.

How are the collaborations important for big companies when it comes to external R&D collaborations?
It is becoming one of the processes of innovation for large corporates. Increasingly large corporates are realizing the potential of collective intelligence of global talents. Start-ups are seeking access to the networks and customers of large companies and this ‘network effect’ if these MNCs take up mentorship through a public and private partnership model, then they can leverage amazing results through accelerated decision making, agility of process and risk taking appetite.

What kind of risk do you think these big companies take by associating with small and probably inexperienced firms? How do you think they can mitigate these risks?

The major risk for large corporates is confidentiality. Once a company grows to a certain size, they become aversive to risks, which is why while associating with small firms there is always a question of sustainability. With proper due diligence and adequate processes companies can mitigate these risks.

Any tips for small firms to better serve big companies and further their success rate?
Small companies need to demonstrate their sustainability capabilities and how the technology can scale for large corporates requirements.

What is the current scenario of open innovation and crowd sourcing in the country? Where does India stand globally?
Open innovation and crowd sourcing is being well adopted by Indian companies. But still India is far behind than America and Europe. Almost half the collaborators face problems like poorly-defined strategies for managing intellectual property (IP) risks as well as lack of efficiency at resolving IP disputes during the experimentation and procedural stages of innovation.

In terms of funding, government should participate along with private sponsorship to promote the innovation ecosystem. With government grants, entrepreneurial ventures are more likely to succeed leveraging all kinds of market analytics system at their disposal.

What kind of future do you see if this innovation strategy is leveraged?
With this trend we envision a future of more rapid innovation and better, smarter world. Our vision is to democratize innovation and create a business platform that facilitates innovation with utmost rigor and fervour that is unmatched in the world.

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Ideapoke startups interview Crowd Sourcing innovation