Earlier this year I wrote about the role of copying in innovation. The post was based upon a study released at the time looking at the role of remixing. They found that famous programmers in the Scratch community would have their work reused a lot, but that many of the remixes were of a rather trivial nature, ie they weren’t adding much to the original. What’s more, they also found that people were more likely to re-use existing remixes than they were purely original work.
Suffice to say of course, that such an approach is not really something that many people want to endorse. It’s much cooler to think of innovation as some Eureka moment whereby something new and fresh is set forth onto the world. This is despite the numerous evidence to support the notion that innovation typically stands on the shoulders of giants.
A paper published a few years ago by Josh Lerner highlights this quite starkly. He analysed changes in IP law in 60 countries over a 150 year period. That meant over 300 distinct policy changes. He found that when patent laws were strengthened, whether in developed or developing countries, the number of patents issued dropped.
Despite this however, it’s still interesting to see a site emerge that is designed purely for allowing people to remix ideas. The site, called Ideas To Steal.Today exists to provide a platform for people to share ideas they can’t make work themselves.
Users access the site for free via their Facebook account. They’re then invited to demonstrate the genesis of their idea as richly as they can, using images, videos and text. Once each idea is approved by the site moderators, it can then be accessed by other users who can comment on the idea, and even let the original innovator know if they’ve taken the idea and done something with it.
It’s an interesting idea that is in a very early stage of its development. Thus far there are only half a dozen categories, each with a handful of ideas in them. We’ve seen with sites such as Marblar that companies are beginning to open up their untapped intellectual property to innovators from around the world. Ideas To Steal is not at that level, but it will be interesting to see how it develops.Original post