Some people generate ideas as naturally and frequently as others change their socks – but they're not always the best candidate to actually follow through. Connecting ideas with doers and the necessary resources to make them happen is the driving force behind IdeaForge, a budding social venture that aims to become an "engine of creation".
The concept hit founder Aimee Whitcroft last year – “it was one of those random epiphanies” – when she was pondering how to make the most of one. Sure, she could write about her ideas on her blog ... "where they’d sink without a trace, to a large extent".
No, what was needed was some kind of online repository for all those sparks. And thus, IdeaForge was born.
Whether you had a flash-in-the-pan moment in the shower this morning or have been plugging away on your brilliant brainwave for years and need to take it to the next level, all ideas will be welcomed. Individuals can dictate how involved they want to be and what kind of role they want to play.
There are three “circles” that IdeaForge brings together, she says – ideas, people with the skills and time to work on them, and resources – be that cash, access to equipment, appropriate facilities, etc. Other similar concepts out there generally only tick two out of those three boxes.
In regards to IP, users should of course realise that once something is on the internet, it’s out there for good. Whitcroft says the IdeaForge community won’t hesitate to block any members who don’t behave appropriately and warn other users about working with them.
She finds the disenfranchisement of certain sections of society upsetting – think the very young, unemployed or retired, who are often written off and treated as less than they deserve. Something like IdeaForge, she hopes, will help them to participate in the economy, to feel engaged and valued.
On a larger scale, she says, governments can connect with inventors and innovators, while organisations can set up their own internal IdeaForges (there are of course many enterprise tools for collaboration and development but Whitcroft says they tend to take a dry corporate approach, while IdeaForge would provide an affordable alternative).
The goal is to eventually generate enough income to cover some salaries and running costs.
"We would like to make a profit at some point but the idea is that goes straight back into the company. This isn’t being built so we can sell to Google for a billion dollars.”
IdeaForge is still a way off launching to the public (they’re currently hunting for programmers to bring it to life) but Whitcroft promises it will be simple to use – “not for techies by techies, but for everyone”.