Nodes are cheap

I tend to have a lot of ideas; most are trash. Like subatomic particles they flash in and out of existence and unless you have a mechanism to stabilize them, they quickly fade into the background. Once captured they sit in my endless lists until I can find a use for them. But no one idea ever gets used, it’s always the through-lines, the connections between three or four interacting that creates something interesting. The molecule is more interesting than its atoms: value from the interaction not the components.

I think most innovation goes something like this too, the iPhone was not technically impressive in its construction. There were few basic scientific hurdles they overcame, they simply connected the available technologies in the right order to create the modern era.

The next great innovation hasn’t been created, but its constituent components are in the aether. Is there a way we can hasten their connections? By skimming the internet for random ideas, small frameworks, interesting elements and combining them randomly we might quicken the arrival of these innovations.

The skimming might be the hardest part, connections will grow exponentially as nodes and so will valuable ‘molecules.’ But the rate of ineffectual idea connections will grow as fast assuming the percentage is constant. Deciding what is random text and what counts as a ‘node’ might be the technically hardest part. The rest is just aggregation.

Once you have a list of candidate ideas, you show them to a wide variety of people and have them rate if a group of nodes is interesting or not. A 1-5 scale might be more useful because it allows people to rate their certainty. Keeping tack of participants scores of node groups might highlight those with better judgement. Information on the ability to judge between groups might highlight valuable life experiences. Bi-modal distributions might be more interesting than normal distributions as strong differences highlight the ‘interestingness’ of a node grouping. Once a ‘molecule’ is screened by this first tier, those that show a high ‘interestingness’ could be distributed to second tier of screening or immediately to those capable of acting. Maybe by email, app, anonymous email or twitter DM.

Specialists in areas might curate their node groups toward one area or another: RNA + X, basic income + Y. But this complicates the skimming and requires cataloging which might not be readily accomplished with abstract topics.

This ‘product’ might be valuable for a company. iPhone + (idea) might have a lot of value to a company but the internal logic of their decision making considers a higher number of variables and idea generation is not generally lacking. Entrepreneurs could scout their idea in the same fashion. Innovation + (idea) but the same logic as companies applies in a weaker fashion.

The brute force of this screen is its strength and weakness. Most node groups will be garbage, the faintest glimmer might hold some value. But innovation is not something we can take lightly, the future (both near and far) literally depends.

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