Sunday, October 7, 2007

Where can I get my business idea?

In their latest book, Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams define what they call Ideagoras. These are virtual places where companies and individual contributors meet to exchange problems and solutions. That is, companies in search for solutions to a specific problem; and also companies with solutions without a problem.
For example, companies like P&G invest millions of dollars in Research and Development, to usually not find a definite application to the thousands of resulting patents. This is where ideagoras come to play. One application is for companies to post problems that they can’t seem to solve, in-house. Looking for individual contributors to proposed an optimal solution. Another application, that I find much more useful for entrepreneurs and what triggered this post, is for companies to offer patents and R&D results that have no apparent use for the originating company. In other words, companies post IP material and offer it to others for commercialization or a business application that they have not thought about.
The database has detailed description of the solution, potential uses and everything needed to replicate it. You might think that it is the same as searching the National Database for Patents, however there are major benefits. First of all, ideagoras are frequented only by companies truly seeking for individuals to license their patents. Therefore you know that you will be able o license it. Also, the ideagora site will serve as intermediary for the transaction. Something similar to what eBay does for auctions. Finally, the database is indexed, categorized, and very simple to use and navigate.
To me, this came as a great revelation. I always struggle with creativity for potential business ideas. I believe that 1/3 of the success of a start-up comes from the idea itself, 1/3 from the execution of the business idea, and 1/3 is luck. What ideagoras bring to the equation is that the first 1/3 can be taken from a database of ideas.
The first website that I have seen with great potential is yet2.com. You register with the accustomed free account, select your preferences for what you want to see in the main page, and you are ready to go. It is important to say that you can perform both activities at yet2.com: you can post problems in search of a solution, or you can request licensing for solutions that do not have a problem.
Certainly, I will be in the lookout for other ideagoras out there. Once you find a good idea, then all that is left is the 2/3 of execution and luck.

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