SBIR Phase I: Serendipitous Search System Using Lateral Analogy to Match Potential Solutions to Unmet Needs:Feasibility Study Based on Screening Approved Drugs for Potential Repur

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Leonardo Innovations Inc.
423 8th Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is focused on the development of novel methods for ideation and innovation through the discovery of lateral connections in otherwise unconnected knowledge networks. In many fields of human knowledge and activity, a common feature is that information content is expanding at such a rate that finding relevant results to searches for solutions is becoming increasingly difficult. A further problem is that even the high quality material is expanding at such a rate that most disciplines are rapidly forming sub-disciplines. As fields continue to both expand both at the top levels in terms of overall amount of knowledge, and to expand at the more granular levels by fragmentation into ever more numerous subfields, each of which may develop its own journals, conferences and even terminology, impenetrable to the outsider. It's becoming impossible to stay current. Yet much of creativity occurs, and indeed a great many of the world?s great inventions have occurred, precisely at the intersections between different fields. The central objective of this Phase I project will be to determine the utility of a parsable ontology for supporting ideation and innovation by connecting diverse knowledge domains. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project spans multiple fields and markets, including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, materials science, semiconductor devices, chemical processing, legal discovery, patent analyses, and financial analytics. In each of these fields, there is often an increase in 'silo-ing' of different knowledge domains, with the development of access and language barriers in between them, presenting clear challenges to academia and industry. As this situation worsens, there is need of ever better ways to organize, translate and present information to users, and to find solutions to users' problems (their 'unmet needs'). What is needed, and not yet offered by any competitor, is an exploration system giving searchers a strong serendipitous element with a maximum likelihood of results having come from a diverse, unexpected, and potentially provocative source. This will break down silos by providing a rapid, relevant means for knowledge-transfer between different disciplines to facilitate the ready spread of awareness of a potential solution from one field to another, fostering interdisciplinary innovation. The initial customer focus will be on particular corporate clients with a heavy investment in R & D activities and a high probability of internal silo-ing of knowledge, such as pharmaceutical companies.