Idea market

Sometimes in research we come up with a cool new way of doing things, but we aren’t always fully aware of all the purposes that new technique is good for. There are well known examples, like silly putty or the Smart Board, of inventions that were created for one purpose or market sector, but found their true utility elsewhere.

I wonder whether it would make sense to create a sort of on-line utility market, in which anybody can participate. The market would be a sort of “invention CraigsList”.

People who have invented (and presumably will patent protect) novel enablements would be able to describe those new techniques in an on-line forum. Other participants to the forum can then suggest interesting uses for those techniques, to which they can claim ownership.

In an economic sense, such a marketplace can benefit everyone involved, since each novel utility increases the potential value of the corresponding novel enablement — or combination of novel enablements.

4 Responses to “Idea market”

  1. thibault says:

    That may be one of the purpose of /r/Lightbulb on Reddit, the Reddit system allow users to vote for popular ideas and everyones can contribute to them via comments. Still a dedicated website could be neat and attract more peoples. I think the trick is to be able to filter all the noise one can get which such a tribune though. A threshold of ‘seriousness’ or ‘utility’ perhaps ? but I guess it’s against the root of ideas and creativity : we never know where they came from nor where they can lead us to.

  2. I used to enjoy a website called the half-bakery. It’s sort of like you described, except without any money involved.

  3. Don Hopkins says:

    You’ll enjoy the Halfbakery, a cafè for half baked ideas!

    http://www.halfbakery.com/

    Spray-on Mouse Pad

    Spray on to surface for instant mousepad

    Miracle spray that penetrates into cracks of surface and then quickly polymerizes to form a mat with a slick surface. When finished with surface, remove with knife and either dispose of it or incinerate it.
    Perfect for the outdoorsy type who needs to turn a tree stump into a computer desk in order to upload videos of his latest nature hike. Can also be used as an impromptu placemat for gourmet campfire meals.
    — Cuit_au_Four, Sep 20 2015

  4. J. Peterson says:

    Along the same lines:

    https://twitter.com/boredelonmusk

    I’ve actually seen one of “his” musings commercialized as a real smartphone app.

    Raw ideas are so cheap and plentiful there’s no market value for them. Turning them into real products, services, institutions, demos, etc. is where all the effort is required.

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