Deloitte eyes innovation

Financial services firm Deloitte and partner Eclipse launched a pilot in Sydney yesterday of an application designed to capture, expand and collaborate on ideas capture, before taking the tool global.

The tool, called Innovate, has drawn interest from NASA, the CSIRO and financial institutions, and will be launched soon in the US, Europe and South Africa.

Eclipse CEO Peter Williams said Deloitte ran a demonstration for Qantas Airways where staff used the application to brainstorm innovation ideas.

"We held a 'breakthrough cafe' where we worked with a mixed group of Deloitte staff, entrepreneurs and experts on a topic chosen by Qantas. Using Innovate, we returned 939 ideas [which] Qantas has shown interest in implementing," Williams said.

"The primary fault with innovation is that business invests big money in lengthy and tedious market research, when all that is needed is smaller investments in things like focus groups - ideas need exposure to diverse opinions to get into the marketplace quickly.

"Most large organizations only consider a small number of ideas from a narrow group of people, [when] they need to capture thousands of ideas and focus their efforts, resources and investment in the gems that can quickly deliver value."

The Web-based application, developed by a team of 80 Eclipse and Deloitte engineers, is offered hosted or in-house and costs about $75,000 for businesses with up to 300 employees and $140,000 for larger companies, with an additional 20 percent fee for a hosted service.

Williams said while the program operates within client infrastructure, Deloitte hosts a Wiki, blog and an RSS Aggregator offering innovation information, and ongoing technical, training and resource support.

"Ideas can be posted by anyone regardless of their location, within about 10 minutes; [Innovate] divides their ideas into internal ideas (for internal business changes) and business ideas, which can be debated, expanded and linked to similar concepts to highlight those with most potential," he said.

The program runs on J2EE open standard Java and is marketed by enterprise content management vendor Vignette which will showcase the tool in its Vignette Village Asia-Pacific conference in October this year.

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