After what felt like New England winter that would never end…Spring is finally here. Daylight hours are stretching, the rays of gold are streaking through the tall pines, and most of the &%$@# snow has finally melted, revealing ugly, muddy, brown earth. However, it will soon be beautiful. I see a few promising blades of grass stretching upward and reaching for the sky. It is “Cool Vendor” season.
Like caring for any young plant, the right mix of sun, water, and good soil will help those new R&D shoots go a long way. But there are opposing forces at work….after all, it is my lawn. The complex environment around my house require an extreme level of yard-diversity and care. There are pests, spots of acidic soil due to pine needles, and difficult-to-manage shadowy bits to contend with. It would have been convenient to buy a house in a subdivision where all the lawns are seeded with the same grass and treated with the same chemicals……
R&D IT groups have a very intricate landscapes to maintain. No two R&D groups are alike in terms of the portfolio. They tend to have diverse, fast-paced, odd life-cycle, niche, unique, thorny, sometimes poisonous, and unruly growths. The diversity is the interesting part, and the interesting parts enable differentiation…which is a good thing for R&D innovation. By the way, these vendors did not get onto our radar via the “pitch” channels (This isn’t the case of Jedi mind tricks by AR/PR personnel) Also, none of the candidates were elevated by corporate IT staff…but rather by R&D channels.
While small vendors carry risks, these companies have elements that we consider cool. They have technologies, business models and applications that will soon yield flowers and fruits that are a bit differentiated. I look forward to seeing them take root and fit into the landscape.
Here’s the class of 2015 for Cool Vendors in R&D for Manufacturers:
- Carrot Search www.carrotsearch.com – an advanced text mining and hierarchical document clustering engine with specialized visualization capabilities for helping solving complex R&D and scientific problems.
- Core Informatics www.coreinformatics.com – a cloud-based laboratory informatics vendor that offers a flexible collaboration platform for driving innovation.
- Innoget www.innoget.com – a marketplace for buying and selling technology and knowledge, in which R&D innovators and business opportunists can collaborate, and develop and refine ideas and innovation challenges, reducing the barriers for entry.
- InspiRD www.inspird.com – a solution to manage R&D with long life cycles and complex interdependencies that gives an extra dimension for product and technology roadmapping, in addition to project and portfolio management.
- ProdPad www.prodpad.com -a SaaS-based innovation management solution for aligning product specifications with R&D and product development activities.
I go into more detail and the justifications in the FULL REPORT: http://www.gartner.com/document/3025917.