It’s not uncommon for academics to have ideas - in fact it’s what they’re paid for. Sometimes it feels like that's where they stall too.
With the push to reform science, academics have been funnelling those ideas towards improving science. More minds, more insights - perfect! Some great projects have come from this - think of the Open Science Framework and dare I say ResearchEquals 😊
The biggest hurdle I've seen and experienced time and again is when those ideas want to go beyond a proof of concept or prototype. When they want to go into production all kinds of additional issues pop up.
Many things that pop up in prototypes are easy to fix, so it's fine that it happens. Plug this hole, do that — all good! They can be fixed when they come up.
In production however, plugging holes isn't allowed to happen because you can't fix the issues as readily. Issues need to be resolved for everyone.
Putting ideas into production is a completely different skill from having the idea itself.
I know because over at Liberate Science that has been my experience as well. I had to learn this skill myself and it's uncomfortable. But alas, I've previously talked about building a business as a theory and something similar applies to products: You can't afford to perfect it alone. We built a pilot, ran it for eighteen months, gutted it, took six months to build a new product with lessons learned, and delivered on the first deadline.
We would've never been able to learn those lessons without launching something.
There are so many great seeds of ideas — I've started noticing how many of these never germinate and grow because they remain in the phase of building excitement about its perpetually imminent launch.
Too many projects remain in the future, deadline after deadline, promise after promise. I am thinking of projects, and you probably are too.
At some point, great ideas on the future are not enough to build a better world.