The Vision: Summary of Idea
Ideas are everywhere, but knowledge is rare (Thomas Sowell)
Ideas are more powerful than guns (Josef Stalin)
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. (Victor Hugo)
Ideas will make any idea fun. (Idea Wiki)
This is a fantastic wiki that could have a huge impact. By encouraging greater participation, re-organising information and introducing a voting system this Ideas Wiki could do for ideas what Wikipedia has done for knowledge.
The world is full of problems that need great ideas to help solve them. Often the right ideas are more important than power or money in making the world a better place. There is a shortage of great ideas amongst people in positions of power and a lack of power and influence amongst many who have amazing ideas. This web project could change that, by giving a global voice to anyone with a good idea and great ideas to anyone with the ability to implement them. This could become the world's first truly democratic think tank. Why can't it rival the best "professional" idea generators.
How it works
Proposing an idea
Anyone could propose a new idea (as now). However the idea would have to fit onto a standard template and within the agreed categorisation of ideas. (See below).
Responding to an idea
Anyone could then either edit the original idea - to clarify or add detail. Alternatively they could enter into a discussion of one particular aspect - e.g. how beneficial it would be, the potential problems or the technology involved.
Finally anyone could rate any idea. The purpose of this is to allow the best ideas to rise to the surface. Few people are likely to read through all the ideas on the site (apart from those of us with too much time on our hands), so this would provide a democractic way of ranking ideas. As well as the overall ranking users could view most recent ideas, most highly rated ones today, most highly rated within a particular category etc etc.
One idea would be to have two ratings: out of 10 for how good an idea it is and out of 10 for the potential impact. The overall rating would be reached by multiplying these together (i.e. out of 100). For example, the first ideas on this wiki for producing better alarm clocks might rate 7/10 for being good ideas, but only 3/10 for potential impact as they might not tranform people's lives, giving an overall rating of 21/100. The famous example of the wind-up radio for use in areas with no electricity, however, might score 9/10 and 8/10 giving an overall rating of 72/100.
Categories of Ideas
The current wiki already has some categories, e.g. Natural Sciences - Space Sciences etc, but it also starts with a long list of ideas that are largely "household gadgets" (not wanting to demean them in any way of course). A clear set of categories is essential to make the site workable as it grows.
- Global Warming
- Medicine & Health
- Social problems
Categories within each idea
For every idea submitted a template should automatically be created which covers the key areas that need to be considered, e.g.:
- Summary of Idea
- Potential Benefits
- How it works
- Technology Needed
- Other Resources Required
- Anticipated Problems
- Similar ideas or related experiences
Somenoe with more experience of wikis could advise on this. It could be that a wiki hosted here is the perfect technical solution but there are several key requirements that I don't know if we can achieve here: 1. Creating a template for every new idea so that the sub-headings are automatically created 2. The ability to handle responses and discussion as well as maintaining an updated "template" for the idea. 3. A system of voting and ranking (a bit like on youtube) to allow the best ideas to surface.
Other Resources Required
None - it's free (thanks to Wikia), apart from people's time. As it grows it should be easier to get more and more people interested and contributing (provided information remains clearly organised).
Why would people bother to contribute? There are many people who would like to make a difference to the world but don't have the time, influence or resources to put it into practice themselves. They also might not know who to suggest it to. This project could give these people a no-risk way of putting their idea "out there" and watching it be nurtured, develop and maybe one day come to the attention of those who can make them happen.
The site could quickly become unwieldy and impossible to navigate. We need a really clear format for organising ideas and responses to them.
Credibiility As with all wikis, there will be bad ideas as well as good ones. The voting system should allow people to quickly read through the "best" (most popular) ideas. In this way the "mad" ideas shouldn't undermine the credibility of the whole project.
Lots of people might not like having to type funny characters (= ' ~) around everything. As well as those who live in cyberspace we want people who don't like computers very much to take part too. (don't think we'll ever reach those who positively hate computers).
The Idea Wiki already has great ideas on a whole range of topics.