Creaholic are professional inventors for international clients, which requires a flexible, capable, multidisciplinary team: unique experts who can also work with others.
Every project is different, and problems could quickly arise if Creaholic didn't have an agile development system.
Creaholic has merged with the Human Centered Design department of Swisscom. Together they've worked on more than 1000 projects, created 180 patent families and helped to create 10 spin-off companies.
Carole Chapelat shares how Creaholic are making innovation a profession and bringing their clients ideas to life, one magical moment at a time
What does your role invole?
“I have two roles here at Creaholic. The first one is dealing with all our IP matters, which includes coordinating the IP with our customers and working on our own IP with our patent attorney, following and managing our IP budget. Every project is different: performing landscape or inspiration screening at the very start of a project through to patentability researches and patent filing corresponding to the concept generated during our project.
“My second role is a co-creator. I take part in different innovation projects by giving input in brainstorming sessions, performing lab trials or realizing demonstrators. We have a multidisciplinary team, and for each project, a dream team is selected based on the background of each Creaholicer in order to match the skill requirements.”
Could you tell us a little bit more about the kind of work you do with your clients?
“We have two kinds of projects. We have our own innovation projects, and our customers’ projects. When defining a direction for a project, we never know what we will end up with! This is simply due to the nature of those innovation projects. That’s the reason why, we developed a methodology to guide us through this complex process. In fact, our customers are mainly focused on what we call renovation, instead of true innovation.
“During the projects, we introduce them to our multidisciplinary team, and act as an external eye on what they are dealing with every day. This helps them to reconsider the problems that they are facing, take a different approach or to rephrase problems, which means the solution we end up with is often completely different because the problem definition has changed. Put simply, this is rethinking the value proposition and reconsidering changes in the marketplace.
“I think it’s interesting to deal with different types of projects. On the one hand, it’s difficult because you need to get a good understanding of the customers field and challenges, but on the other hand, you really learn and discover a lot.Sometimes by just being a novice in a domain, you end up with questions that can really make sense.
“Conversely, being much more involved in a specific field gives you a better overview and understanding of the domain and its challenges. By breaking the rules, deconstructing certainties, and cross-fertilizing ideas, we are pushing the limits of the fields and re-inventing it.
“The length of our projects really depends from customer to customer, but we normally do really short and intensive phases that last between 3-6 months, which means we can try fast and fail fast.”
How does PatSnap fit into your work?
“I use PatSnap in different aspects of my work. We use it for several of our start-ups, to create patent alerts and to watch interesting fields of activity. I also use it for projects to find out what is going on in the market and landscape. In addition, it helps me see the patent portfolio of our customers and their competitors.
“PatSnap helps save money and time. One example is when I look for a company’s patent portfolio and look for their key technologies, it’s very fast with PatSnap to identify that. If I didn’t have PatSnap, I would spend a day instead of an hour. For this kind of search, I would say it saves us about 1’500 Swiss francs a month.
“Also, the visual aspects are important to us because we are not always talking to people skilled in IP matters, and they can find it really boring. So, if you can show some graphics it immediately helps them to understand the direction you want to go in, and it saves me a lot of time when putting presentations together as well.”
Are there personal drivers behind what you’re doing? Why this is so important to you?
“Before my current role, I was in charge of R &D in the field of formulation for 3D printing applications, and I was also dealing with the IP as it’s a really intensive market in terms of IP. I was responsible for all IP matters for my first team, and it evolved along my career with all the different teams I work with.
“I’ve been at Creaholic for two years, and the projects I’m working on are highly confidential. Nevertheless, I can share that projects related to cosmetics and to water saving aspects are to me, the most interesting- you know that you are really helping and bringing value to the world.
“So, our vision is that we want to improve the world and create value. We do not want to work for the military or for weapons developments, we won’t do the job if it doesn’t fit our objectives and vision. We’ve been around for 30 years now, we consider ourselves to be professional inventors and we want to create long term value.”