University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Innovation Accelerator, a start-up company started by UMass Professor Anthony McCaffrey

Creativity and invention have a wild and unpredictable quality to them. Anthony has formed his own company that offers a software package that seeks to tame and rationalize these two important processes.

Anthony McCaffrey has launched his new company, Innovation Accelerator, based in West Brookfield, Mass., and its first product, Analogy Finder software. He has also finalized a licensing agreement with the university’s office of Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property that allows the company to commercialize the software. McCaffrey is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for e-Design in the UMass Amherst mechanical and industrial engineering department, a recent doctoral recipient in psychology, and a former elementary school teacher.

McCaffrey’s key idea and the basis of his software flow from a simple observation. He says most creative breakthroughs arise through analogy, or what might be called sideways thinking. When you confront a problem or dilemma, McCaffrey says, it’s highly likely someone has dealt with a variation on that theme in some other field, and by studying how those other solutions work, you can get a jump on how to fix your situation.
 
The Analogy Finder software will seek out these analogous solutions by hunting through patent databases, research libraries and other sources.

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