This conversation is closed.

A forum for people to drop their business ideas that others, seeking to start businesses can then develop

There are business ideas that hit us like lightning bolts from time to time. When I get some of those ideas, I think, " If I weren't in school, I would have loved to start that as a business but given my the limits of time, networking and financial resources, I can't. But, just because I don't have the time or resources or the will to pitch the idea formally to an affluent group of people, should a potentially innovative idea go to waste?
I think it would be great if TED could start an IDEA BANK as a branch-website where individuals who have no qualms about intellectual property rights can drop there ideas as an open source that others can then develop. It could function in a way similar to a blood bank or a sperm bank. Entrepreneurs in search of ideas could use the idea bank as a resource from which they can borrow ideas to create, improve, or innovate their businesses. There could even be a way of keeping track of which ideas have been adopted, and which ones have been partially adopted and so on.

A lot of great, creative, business ideas that are out there never get realized. There are also a large number of individuals who have the time and the resources to start new and creative businesses.If the individuals who have these great ideas are not going to pursue or develop their ideas, then why not let someone else realize it, and make the world a slightly better and creative place to be?

If any of you is aware of such a website, please do let me know. If you'd like to build a website, I would love to be part of the endeavor in terms of fleshing out the details of this project.

  • thumb
    Feb 16 2013: Carolin,

    There are some people applying for this kind of ideia in the open innovation field. The most complete one I've found is InnoCentive, but it still working more in the "market's challenges" sites.
    Or as you will see, it is more likely a "market pull" than an "idea push".

    There is a new ideia that I really loved and its really simillar with what you thought about, but unfortunelly its a brazilian project only and the website is in portuguese. Anyway you can still check this at
    This is one case that is more likely an "idea push" case, where ideas can connect and make things happen.
    • Feb 16 2013: Hi Mikael,
      Synapses Hub does seem to capture the idea (from what I gather from the video). It would be great if someone could create an English version of the website.
  • thumb
    Feb 15 2013: Hi Carolin, I've been working in promoting technology and entrepreneurship in Latin America and thought about the exact same idea a while ago. I've been building the platform and is due to launch this month. Would you care to try it out and share your feedback?
    • Feb 16 2013: Hi Javier,
      I would love to try our the platform and give you feedback!
    • thumb
      Feb 18 2013: Hey Javier,

      Could you share with us the name or your platform? Is anything online yet?

      By the way, where in Latin America you want to launch it? I'm from Brazil and I also got interest on it.

      Thank you and good luck on it!
  • Feb 14 2013: I think that is a great idea! My only concern would be how individuals would be capable of protecting their think tank idea once it has progressed to a solid business plan. What is going to stop any reader from taking the efforts of the collaboration and starting their own venture using these ideas? There are a lot of great resources out there for connecting with others and their business ideas. I frequently read several sites and keep an eye out for new technologies and start up ideas. Entrepreneur Magazine is a cool resource but can be simple in regards to some of the valuable content one would like to see associate with start up ideas. A few sites I like to read, that are also top rate start up blogs, include,, and
  • Feb 14 2013: Nice idea, sort of like "open source" business planning. There are sites that do this, but the challenge, as Tanner points out, is protecting the rights and remaining involved. I've worked in the real world for so long and seen too many good ideas absorbed by either a business or someone in a position to exploit the opportunity; often leaving behind the inspiration and passion of the person that created the idea. That being said, if I can find a platform that offers a somewhat protected environment, I'm in, as I have too many ideas and not enough places to share.
    • Feb 14 2013: Yes, that's the idea. Do you have ideas on how we could create a protected environment? I would like the forum to be accessible to as many people as possible, but how do we avoid the scenario where an idea loses its essence along the way?
      While I agree that it is important to remain involved, in some cases, the person who initially had the idea may not want to remain involved for any number of reasons. So, perhaps, we could have a system that allows the patrons to choose how they would like to see their idea take off, the amount of involvement they prefer, and so on. For such patrons, the website should provide greater security for their intellectual property.
      For the patrons who would rather put their idea in a public domain pool, and move on with their life without necessarily being involved, that could be an option too.
      What do you think?
      • Feb 15 2013: From my personal experience with 2 startup companies and from experience of other entrepreneurs, an idea is usually not worth much unless the idea is well executed.

        The important part of any start up business is how one executes on idea. Initial idea (business plan) will evolve based on obstacles, new facts, new relationships, more ideas and new opportunities that will come along the way.

        Many people have ideas and they will demand a large stake in a company just for the idea without seriously committing to spend the time and money to executing it. It even seems more important to have the right people at the beginning to execute any idea than having the best idea ever with no one being able to act on it.

        It is interesting that different people (entrepreneurs, scientists) come up with similar ideas about the same time.

        Another interesting observation is that people and competition don't necessary pay attention to ideas until an idea is successfully executed. Worrying about someone stealing idea too early can be counter-productive.

        Of course, exceptions apply esp. you have valid patent, formula and other intellectual asset.

        However I do encourage you to try this system and see what happens =)

        Good luck!
        • Feb 16 2013: I concur. Personally, I would not worry about others "stealing" my ideas. As far as I am concerned, any form of execution of a creative idea may be better than no execution at all. The reason I would drop off an idea in a public pool is precisely because I have no interest or time or resources to start the business myself (in a partnership or not).

          However, as I responded to Mike, it is imperative that the patrons of the website have the choice of how much protection they would like for their idea.
  • thumb
    Feb 20 2013: Great, thank you Carolin and Mikael for your support :-) The site is but as of now it's only a placeholder. It will be up and running on Monday 25. Should I send you an invite by a message through here or how?

    What part of Brazil are you from? We are supposed to have some sort presentation in Sao Paulo by the end of May.
  • thumb
    Feb 16 2013: Great,,and we all get ideas ..
    We are trying to improve the Football headgear on our fields.

    Any TED sters want to help..?
  • Comment deleted

    • Feb 16 2013: Hi,
      One of the earlier comments mentioned the same issue. I am sure there could be a way of protecting intellectual property if this idea were to be implemented.
    • thumb
      Feb 18 2013: What if it is not protected? People have good ideias everytime but if it is only an ideia, it won't go anywhere.

      Sometimes you just don't won't to do it or you just don't have the opportunities, the time or the right tools. What if someone who have it, grab the ideia and make it happen?

      What is worst anyway: a protected good ideia that none is working at or an unprotected good ideia that someone stole and made it happen?

      Ideas are to make happen, not to have protect. They must be spread.
  • thumb
    Feb 14 2013: Not sure there'd be enough interest. I share ideas I get orally with my family and friends, thinking by sharing either I'll get inspired to actually do the thing, or with a ripple effect, they mention it to someone who "gets the fire" to actually do it.
  • Feb 14 2013: Perhaps you could reverse this concept: a place to post your ideas for starting a business or enterprise and then let a relationship develop with persons who can help. Developing the relationship would substantially increase potential for good mentoring, partnering, creativity, and confidence building. Let the relationship become the driving force for success and this could also include financial and management resources. The horse always pulls the cart; never seen a cart pull a horse!

    The reverse mentioned here is close to what TED is. Maybe the better suggestion could be to tweak TED a bit to open a door (optional page) for business dreamers only. Viable?
    • Feb 14 2013: Hi Mark,
      Thank you for your insight. The second part of the your response is exactly what I meant. I was hoping that perhaps TED could begin a "branch website" that allows for business dreamers. Developing mentoring, partnering, creativity and confidence could be part of the project. It could be like the best of TED and LinkedIn in one place. And, as I responded to Arthur, such a website should be able to be flexible in terms of the security it provides for the ideas on the platform depending on the preferences of the patrons.
  • thumb
    Feb 14 2013: Someone made this recommendation perhaps a month ago, and at that time I found at least one website that does this. Do search online!
    • Feb 14 2013: Hi Fritzie,
      I am yet to find a website that go along the lines of what I have in mind. Could you, perhaps, share the websites you found? I could browse them and confirm if the website(s) to which you are referring captures the idea. I think I may have been unclear in the original post. So, I have clarified and developed the idea a little further in the replies to the other comments to my posts. I would also greatly appreciate it if you could direct me to the TED conversation with the similar recommendation, if it's not too much trouble.
  • Feb 14 2013: Ernesto Cirulli's talk pointed out something I've heard before No one person has everything it takes to make a business work.
    • Feb 14 2013: I should definitely listen to that talk. Thank you for pointing that out.