Network_effect Imagine being able to tap into a worldwide resource of ideas and innovation concepts, contributed by a mix of amateurs and experts from a range of different industries and business disciplines, without ever leaving your PC. That's the basic premise behind, an "innovation, idea, and problem solving resource" created by Vancouver-based Online Data Services:

"IdeaConnection facilitates individual and corporate innovation, ideas, and solutions by offering access to an international pool of thinkers. It is designed for use by anyone seeking a solution to a problem. The problem can be simple or complex. This is a destination where ideas percolate.

This is how it works: A problem is posted; a sum of money is deposited. The solution seeker then reviews the problem solvers CV’s online and selects and invites one or more people to collaborate to solve the problem. Funds are distributed to the participants upon a successful solution.

“I’m inspired and excited by the number of brilliant people signing up to solve problems.” says founder and CEO Scott Wurtele. “I expect that in 2008 we will see 2000 people making their living solving problems on IdeaConnection as well as many thousand more participating part time. This is a wonderful opportunity for thinkers to showcase their talent, earn extra income, and introduce themselves to corporations that they may wish to work with.”

IdeaConnection is also a place where people buy and sell ideas, inventions, and intellectual property. Unlike other such web based services, all submissions are screened, making it worth while to pay to search this database. Problem solving collaboration is presently being done by a few large corporation’s proprietary websites; is available for the rest of the world..."

Unlike other "open innovation" sites (i.e. Amazon's Mechanical Turk site comes to mind), there looks to be some serious money involved here. As the creator of the site explains above, upwards of 2,000 people will be able to "make a living" by contributing to real corporate projects sometime within the next 12 months. For the sake of argument, we'll assume that "make a living" means at least $50,000 per year. That's 2,000 users x $50,000 = $100 million per year in revenue!