More kudos for innovative software

School of Business News, Jun 2006

Paul Hansen

1000minds, a computer programme designed at the School of Business to help people and organizations make optimum decisions, continues to reap awards. Formerly known as Point*Wizard, the brainchild of Dr Paul Hansen of the Economics Department (pictured left) and Franz Ombler, a Wellington IT expert, reached the finals of this year's Health Innovation awards. This is the third innovation award in a year for the pair. It was cited for the development of a fully-integrated process, supported by Internet-based software, for creating valid and acceptable tools for prioritizing patients for access to publicly-funded elective health services.

Despite the success of the programme, Dr Hansen told a gathering in Dunedin it wasn't all beer and skittles. He was one of five start-up companies' principals who spoke of their experiences and found a common theme: they all grossly underestimated the time and cost of getting their idea from the drawing board to a saleable product. Dr Hansen spent 15 years developing the ideas behind the software which rank alternatives or options according to users' preferences.

The Ministry of Health is using his programme to prioritize surgery but it can also be used to rank applicants for a job or anywhere options or alternatives need to be assessed. Dr Hansen found the shift from the university sector to practising commerce was a bit of a culture shock — but one that he is enjoying — and he quickly learned product development was only 10% of the effort needed to get something to market.

STOP PRESS: 1000minds is now on the books of CIC, a business incubator In Maryland funded mainly by large companies associated with the US military and the aerospace industry, as it tries to crack the booming homeland security market.