What do you need to come up with an idea for an interdisciplinary project? Maybe deep expertise in all the relevant disciplines? No - for just the initial idea, you shouldn’t need this level of knowledge. For example, if you have a very general knowledge of what machine learning or genetic engineering can do, you can have an idea of how combining both approaches can be applied to the problem you are interested in. Maybe your idea will be wrong, and actually not work at all, and maybe it will produce results that are not worth the effort. But you can’t know that until you either gain the necessary expertise, or discuss your idea with the specialists in each field.

If a project requires a lot of different skills (and big funding), you might just give up. Well, yeah, you have an idea that sounds cool to you. But if you want to see it implemented, you need to talk with many different specialists. You need to be really passionate about it to overcome the social awkwardness of discussing your potentially crazy idea with a person whom you barely know (or don’t know at all). Finally, even if you succeed at this step, and are assured that there are no obvious flaws and your idea actually may work, you need somehow to persuade people to work on it (or get money somewhere to fund it). Of course, you must do all of this with no guarantee of success. Start-up accelerators, funding applications, etc. can significantly help, but still, you will need to do lots and lots of work.  If you see all this in front of you when you think about implementing your idea, and you are not possessed by it, most likely you will just mention it in occasional conversations with friends without going any further.

How many wonderful projects are never born because of this barrier between idea and implementation? I don’t know. Imagine the world where, as soon as a seemingly good idea comes to your mind, you just put it to the black box (let’s call it Ideas Implementer, or shortly I.I.), and, if the idea is indeed promising, it gets implemented. Would such a world have more projects with a positive impact? The naïve answer seems yes. How many more – I don’t know, and I even don’t know how to know it. Can we create I.I.? In some sense – yes.

The mechanism besides I.I. can be quite straightforward. You come up with the idea. You submit it to a website and tag areas of expertise required to evaluate both whether the idea can be implemented and its potential impacts (both positive and negative). Experts got notified of new submissions, and provide short evaluations. They can also identify the need for additional expertise in other areas. If the idea successfully passed all experts (i.e., all parts can be successfully implemented, no potential significant negative impact and significant potential positive impact), the idea goes to the level of “looks promising”. At this level, people who are interested in it discuss and brainstorm it, gradually creating a whitepaper or grant application. The idea goes to the level of “ready to start implementation”. Some people commit to working on it, if funding is provided, and the initial search for funds (grant application, crowdsource, startup incubator, or any other way) begins.


How difficult is it to create I.I.? The technical details (the website and the system allowing proper notification of experts by tag and moving ideas from one stage to another) seem quite straightforward. The more complicated part is the community building: people willing to provide their expertise and those potentially interested in participating in a new project. 

The only way to estimate whether such a community can be built is to start asking around, trying to understand whether people would like to participate. As initial steps, I am writing this post and asking people who are interested in the idea to tell me what you think. Would you be interested in providing your expertise or do you have ideas that you would like to submit? Or maybe you would like to pick up some interesting project to actively work on it? Do you have any suggestions on how the design of I.I. itself can be improved and what is the best way to actually implement it (yes, implement the implementer)? Do you know about any project similar to this, or such that their experience is important for us (I can think about StackExchange, maybe Wikipedia and potentially business incubators).

If you are interested in it you can join the Slack channel where the discussion is going to happen https://join.slack.com/t/ideasimplementer/shared_invite/zt-ywlc72f5-I~_HLy7B1dkla00y8~Yhzw as well as write your comments here.

UPDATE:  To clarify, rewarding authors and experts will be quite complicated, so I was thinking about it on a purely volunteering basis (so in the initial stages it is non-profit). Then, if the group of people willing to work on the project was formed, they may turn it into a business project. If the initial author of the idea is in the project, he may get something, otherwise, no - the idea is already donated, no donations back. 

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I have been holding in my drawer an idea or attempt at a different economical organization when the interest is to get a thing done rather than use it for maximum power grab ie profit. Based on thinking somewhat hard on piracy, I think there are serious issue on how we compensate "getting the damn thing together" vs "doing the thing" and "enjoying from the thing".

The lines of arguments go somethign like this: There are games that have a standard/high pricepoint that still sells like hotcakes. Additional copy of a program (once programmed and developed) does not increase production costs. Therefore a game that has covered its fair coding/development costs at some point will start to accrue "unfair" compensation (more compensation with no additional work provided). A mass scale program is likely to have the majority of its price composed of such "empty air" (for a project that exactly covers its development at 1000 customers will at 10000 customers be charging 1/10th justified and 9/10ths unjustified price). Because it is more unjustified than justified from the options of "extortion price" and "ignore wall-off", "ignore wall-off" is less wrong than "extortion price". I think this is ultimately in error in that it is more important to have some compensation than no compensation. But there is something important about the same price for the same program being an undercompensation, fair compensation or overcompensation in different situations that shows that in these kind of cases the system is more broken than helping.

The standard wisdom would say that selling 10x as much as expected is providing more enjoyment or utlity as expected and as trade is voluntary and like-for-like its all legimate income. This new line of thinking deviates and says that no the amout of work done is same for small and big customer base in each case the customer base should (exactly) compensate for the work done. 10x times the customers means 1/10th the price. And this should be applied retroactively to past customers. This is the way you do things if you want projects to pass with miminum/acceptable fuss for everybody involved. But doing/thinking this way will treat "profit" as unnecceary friction. Thus we lose all the up and downsides of greed.

This kind of thing could be a crosssection of "assurance crowdsourcing". As an individual if you come to your local store to buy the product that you usually pay $10 for and see (same quality etc) alternative for $8 and $5, the logic of acceptable cost would make you keeping your $10 purchase justifiable but most would understand why to take the $5 product and it would take quite a leaps of logic to take the $8 product (quality reliablity etc differences explain why there are different products in the same category at all on the shelf). With an unknown customer base how big economies of scale are possible can be murky. If a company has a choice between providing one or both of $5 or $8 product it could maximise its income by only offering the $8 product. Standard wisdom deals with this problem that if there is a possibliy to make it for $5 then there is a $3 incentive to come up with a competitor. However if a group of individual consumers are looking to get the product for the least pain possible they might juggle whether to do small scale production of mass production. For small populations and needs mass production could be more expensive than doing a small patch (do you do 5*x or 2000+3*x at x=1000 which one is more painful switches over). So a "coop" would want to be more aware of "other" customer pools while a for-profit organization could try to use actual production methods of cost structure 2000+3*x but price it at the market according to the story of 5*x. Because of effects like these in discussing the price consumers are hesitant to name a high price as if they overprice they will likely be charged that. With this kind of negotiating tool "willingness to pay" and "vulnerablity of extraction" could come apart. You are willing to pay $10 but will only be billed what it actually costs to make the product which could be $8 or $5. More people saying $10 will make the $5 product appear rather than disappear from the shelf.

One danger is that if it is a good idea that one could have tried to start a startup to make millions of dollars of then the opportunity cost of submitting it to the I.I. could be large. However usually people don't give wild ideas a go because of large uncertainties involved. The main "function" of I.I. would probably be then that it guarantees that the idea will not incur costs to the idea submitter. A deal with no downsides and possible upsides seem takeable. The fundamental challenge then is that evaluating an idea will take effort/cost but it is not guaranteed to generate anything.

Also the experts decisions would command or direct a large amout of resources, so liablity could become an issue, or that experts start to make decisions more based on what it is impact is on the social activity rather than what the question or field of idea demands. Then there would be the issue of succesfull ideas. How much of it goes to the implementer and how much is used to hedge and insure against scrutiny for ideas that turn out to be unviable?

I think there is standard advice that an idea is not worth anything. And if a belief would actually pay rent why would you arrange it to pay rent to somebody else? If the scheme doesn't need the submitted ideas to be any good we could just skip the submitting step and generate ideas randomly and produce worthwhile ideas by pure prune. If one thinks of a traditional company as solidifying a specific kind of expertise to an organisation a "fully general corporation" would need to claim that they can use your ideas more effectively than you can, or companies in that domain can. Like if I have a game idea and a game company would have already existing structures (such as established game designers or studios) to process things like that but be bad for other purposes (like agricultural ideas) then the structures of this "general corporation" would need to be pretty general if they can do a comparable job while having no domain-weaknesses.

You are making a good point. Indeed, the system that would reward authors and experts will be quite complicated, so I was thinking about it on a purely volunteering basis (so in the initial stages it is non-profit). Then, if the group of people willing to work on the project was formed, they may turn it into a business project. If the initial author of the idea is in the project, he may get something, otherwise, no - the idea is already donated, no donations back. I will make an update to the initial post to clarify this point.

As to your idea, I am totally not an expert in this field. Hopefully, we will find the experts for all our ideas (I also have a couple).