Can we address the innovation wasteland by capturing & trading knowledge, insight & ideas?

We live in a world of limitless incredible ideas constrained by a set of structures and learned behaviours that limit their potential.

(feel free to share that nugget of wisdom).

Very few incredible ideas ever create significant and meaningful impact (financial or social). Why? Mistakes are made, skills and resources are mismatched, and more often than not, the timing is wrong.

Despite the billions of dollars being spent around the world under buzztag #innovation , all we’ve really invested in is an “innovation wasteland” — an empty vacuum of value lost from the billions of great ideas that didn’t work.

Personally, I’m a recycle and reuse kinda gal and have a hankering to address some of this waste.

The limitation of Incubators & Accelerators

I don’t have the confidence that the issue can be addressed or resolved through the participation in incubators or accelerators as they operate today, because I find them so limited.

  1. Their value is limited to the calibre of the individual mentors, advisors or investors associated to the said incubator/accelerator.
  2. The value of the “learnings” of the mistakes made during these incubators or accelerators is limited to the individual willingness to share them — accurately (mistakes are constantly repeated, knowledge is poorly extracted and recycled).
  3. No matter how many cool bean bags or ping pong tables they have, incubators & accelerators are more often than not, limited to the physical “space” they house, which excludes more ideas or conversations then it promotes due to an accessibility limitation on individuals who are constraint by their time, location and physical abilities.
  4. They are limited by their source of funding (so they will be less inclined to be honest about the value of organisations funding or supporting the programme.

School of Hard Knocks

From personal experience, I value the mistakes I’ve made in business as a greater investment than my business degree. I say this with pride- I have sucked, I have been suckered, but the net result of all wins and losses is that I’m more knowledgeable than I was before, and I have a better network of people to go see for X and Y, and who to avoid at all costs. Really valuable stuff that I’d be happy to share, but to whom?

One-on-one mentoring or even one-on-ninety in person chats doesn’t provide the ROI for my time (or anyone else’s) that I’d like. It would be fine if I departed all my highly valuable wisdom and recorded it to share with others — but to whom, and under what circumstances?

I’d love an online platform, where I could impart knowledge, share articles or answer questions from a broader community strung together by #hashtags

I’d love to capture and share the value of the mistakes of a community in a way that is free, accessible but also quality controlled.

Is it possible for knowledge to be exchanged in a way that doesn’t detract or distract from our day-to-day, but enriches it?

Could we use blockchain? #loveblockchain

Could it be decentralised and crowd-funded & controlled?

What might be the social IMPACT of a decentralised knowledge repository?

To explore this idea, which was stimulated by Ritchie Campbell on Linkedin, I set up a beta-test concept on Slack and invited 5 individuals who I know worked in the social impact space to join and ask a friend to come along to.

I set up some rudimentary channels like #funding #governance #readinglist with a few basic posting rules (that most have ignored, but I’m cool…) to test if this was possible.

Accepting it was free to do so, whether or not it will work is entirely dependent of the interest and engagement of the early “on-boards” [if you’d like to join them, send me a message!]

Today I chatted with one of my favourite humans from Melbourne, Paul Fairchild, who suggested a DAO blockchain might work, I’d be really keen to explore this idea further [note to self, record ALL calls with Paul for future distribution from here on].

It’s been roughly a fortnight on Slack, and already I can recognise that the UX sucks.

Imagine if it was possible for the collective group to “think-source” the UX solution for the knowledge repository and membership guidelines?

For example, I’d like to upvote valuable ideas. Perhaps the number of upvotes I receive might add to my profile so I can be recognized as a meaningful “influencer”.

Paul suggested we have a weekly (altered to personal preferences) auto email that summarised the #hashtags we are most interested in to make sure we wouldn’t miss out on a #knowledgenugget.

What if we reached a point in the near future where we collectively decided (via vote) that membership would cost $100 per year, found a blockchain hack to receipt money and collectively spend money on alternative to Slack, then collectively “think-sourced” the alternative?

What a revelation!!

Anyone willing to give it a shot?


Can we address the innovation wasteland by capturing & trading knowledge, insight & ideas? was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.