The Inkling Project


Posted on: 04/15/2009

I recently decided to re-start a project that I started several years ago, then-named simply "Inkling". You can read a little more about that project in my portfolio section. The new site/application is titled The Inkling Project. The reason for the name change that inkling.com was already taken and I wanted to keep the name but didn't want to pay a fortune. So, I appended "project" on to the end of it and not only found availableURLs, inklingproject.com & inklingproject.org, but I think it just sounds cooler... You know, more mysterious and stuff.

So, here's a little bit of a teaser about the project:

Goals:

The basic gist of the site is to provide a single place where humanity can prioritize their problems. We have a lot of major problems but we really don't know where to start and how to go about solving them once we do start. That's where the rest of the site comes into play.

Currently, the site is broken up into four main sections:

  1. Problems
  2. Inklings (ideas)
  3. Solutions
  4. Factory

Problems:

The 'Problems' section is like what I described above: it's a place where all of humanity can bring some sanity to the tumbleweed of problems that we have. It will allow us to organize the problems into what is most important. This prioritization will work by providing a simple standard pollingmechanism for each problem in which the user will be asked to rate the following on a scale of 1-100:

  1. How would you rate this problem as it affects humanity as a whole?
  2. How would you rate this problem as it affects you directly?
  3. How would you rate this problem as it affects our children?


These metrics will likely change over time but should provide you with an idea of how the system will work.

The problems section will also provide a number of tools that will promote discussion of why the problem is so important. People will be able to provide statistics, new articles, papers, etc... about why the problem is pertinent to our comfort and survival. This of this part of the 'Problems' section as a sort of simple wiki.

Inklings:

The 'Inklings' section will be available for people to suggest ideas on how to fix the problem. The ideas, much like the problems, will be democratically filtered through by the 'citizens' of Inkling. This will help determine which ideas are the best ideas, which are bad ideas, and will also help to sift through the junk/spam that will inevitably find its way onto the site.

This will be a place of innovation and creative ideas. There won't be any need to necessarily back up one's ideas with facts or data. If you have an idea, you can throw it up on the site and see what people think about it. Sometimes the craziest ideas are the winning ideas.

Solutions:

If the 'Inklings' section was about baseless, uh, inklings, than this section would be the polar opposite. Ideas will graduate from the Inkling section and will become solutions. Graduation will be based on viability which isgauged on a number of metrics, one of course being its user-created ranking. Several other variables will come into play but we'll call those 'trade secrets' [wink, wink].

The 'Solutions' section is where ideas will become more than just ideas. It's where ideas are tested and backed by real data, statistics, research papers, use-case studies, experiments, etc... This is where the mere inkling of an individual's blip of potential genius gets beat up, run-over, and just all-around tortured until, hopefully, the community comes to the conclusion that it really is viable. This could take anywhere from days to months to years. But, it's a start.

It's important to note that not only one idea will be picked to graduate to the Solutions section. In fact, potentially all ideas may be worthy of this honor if they can stand the test of time and human pessimism.

Factory:

Finally, the factory section is where civilization can go to see what has become of the solutions that have been granted an 'okay'. What ventures/projects have been started to create the solution? How far along are they? What products/services are already available for use?

 

For a much more detailed description, you can read my about 1/3 the way done full-fledged paper on The Inkling Project.