DEMO: Systems Thinking Institute takes risk out of innovation efforts

Systems Thinking Institute is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.

Systems thinking is a broad concept that concerns the process of understanding how things influence one another other within a whole, be it the ecosystem of a forest or the process of product innovation within a company. Systems Thinking Institute tackles the latter, delivering risk management solutions (RMS) to companies engaged in new product development.

Systems Thinking Institute helps customers manage various steps in the process, including requirements definition, systems analysis, verification and validation as well as safety, quality and security. Its flagship product is called SystemKey, a scalable systems analysis framework that turns the traditional risk-management approach on its head, said company co-founder Matthew Weilert.

“The most seasoned people in an organization typically are the ones who are most aware of what can’t be done, or the way it’s always been. True innovation would have to come from the outside,” Weilert said. “So [with] Systemkey … we take the newest person in the organization and give them a structured way of asking questions of the most senior people.”

That way, the process benefits from the experience of the senior staff and the fresh sets of eyes of the newer people, “who are not afraid to say the emperor has no clothes,” he said.

The company cites an estimate from AT&T that every new product introduction costs it $10 million, so any tool that can reduce the risk associated with a new product or service can protect that investment. Systems Thinking Institute says SystemKey speeds time to market by a factor of three with lowered risk, reduced brain drain and betterqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq

The Cedar Creek, Texas-based firm is self-funded and identifies competitors in the space as Isograph’s FaultTree+, ABS Consulting, Invention Machine and ESACS.