Depending on your perspective, an innovator can have multiple characteristics, guiding forces and drivers in today’s global tech world. As a founder and CTO at Ephesoft, I find myself contemplating the source and drive to continuously improve our products for the benefit of our customers. With over 20 years of document capture experience, it is my passion and curiosity to find solutions that add value to our customers.
A coworker recently asked me, what gives me the inspiration and strategic vision to be an Innovator? Looking introspectively, and thinking about the answer led me to think about all the factors and characteristics of being an innovator. When I hear that term, I think of some of history’s well-known “game changers”: Leonardo de Vinci, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and more recently the CEOs of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google and Tesla. These men revolutionized and changed their environment through creativity, science, mathematics and curiosity.
However, innovation can be measured on many levels; it’s not just a concept for the “game changers” who developed electricity, airplanes or an e-commerce platform. At Ephesoft, we value understanding an existing problem or business challenge and offering a solution. This is the core of innovation: developing a product or service that embraces a new way of looking at a problem to improve a situation, remove a process bottleneck, provide insight for business decisions and/or achieve growth. It involves taking risks, embracing uncertainty, collaboration, instinct and a strategic vision for change.
Innovation also requires thinking out of the box, looking at a problem from a unique perspective and then being able to execute. Specifically, at Ephesoft, we consider a successful innovative feature to be in the form of a more intuitive user interface, a faster way to enhance performance, writing new code, creating a new product or other functionality that improves a product, service or process for our customers.
Most importantly, timing is an essential factor of innovation. Recently I read an article that concluded that 2008 mortgage crisis helped companies like Airbnb and Uber to thrive because there were many people who needed extra income, so the timing was perfect to launch these companies with innovative approaches to home rentals and taxi service. Timing should be applicable to your customers and they should easily see the benefit.
After working for years in the document capture industry, I could see that there had to be a better, faster and easier way to capture, classify, extract, review, validate and export documents. My partners and I felt the timing was right and decided to take a risk by leaving our jobs and created Ephesoft. We strived to have a dynamic culture where we share ideas and implement them to make our customer’s work more efficient and cost effective. The result, to date, was creating a successful company with over 500 customers (and rapidly growing) who use our patented machine learning technology, the first in the data capture sector, which we call “Smart Capture®.”
To answer my colleague’s question, the characteristics of an innovator vary, but for me, working in a collaborative, creative environment with a team who shares and respects similar values of change with room to grow, challenges me to be innovative. This includes tapping into our best resources: customers, partners and colleagues as well as to continuously evaluate advances in software worldwide. Keeping a pulse on cutting edge developments allows us to apply new tech to our industry, as seen with applying machine learning algorithms into Ephesoft’s Transact product with Smart Capture. And, there’s always the hope that our innovative technology will give our customers a competitive edge, put us in the history books, and positively impact the future for years to come.