Reducing Idea Generation

How could funding categorisation impact the ease of idea generation and how that problem could be resolved


The current challenge setting process can be somewhat effective as a tool for idea generation where proposal teams see a challenge and subsequently think of an idea in response on how to address that challenge. Broad categorisation could mean preventing new ideas for proposals being formed as easily.

Relevance to funding categorisation

Funding categorisations only somewhat influence idea generation as they produce an incentive to submit proposals that are about the focus areas that are accepted. Funding categorisations focus more on determining which ideas can be submitted into each categorisation rather than being an effective tool for generating ideas. There are many other tools or processes that could be used that are more purpose built to help with idea generation. Some of the categorisation approaches that could impact idea generation are:

  • Broad vs specific categorisation - Broad categorisations reduces the specificity on what type of proposals can be submitted which reduces the encouragement of thinking and submitting relevant proposals. Specific categorisations can help with the submission of more ideas for a given area due to the more direct the incentive to do so. However, specific categorisations cause a number of problems in the funding process as covered in the broad vs specific analysis. Supporting better idea generation does not need to be attached to the approach used for funding categorisation. Allowing the community to effectively express specific priorities and for those priorities to influence the proposal rankings in the voting stage is one example of a solution to encourage idea generation on certain problems that wouldn't result in the need for specific funding categorisations.

Lessons learnt from challenge settings

Something to highlight from the challenge setting process is that the community will on its own initiative create categorisation proposals based on their own information and awareness for suggesting areas that would benefit from further funding.

The benefit of the community writing these categorisation proposals is that it can be effective at bringing awareness to the community about things happening in the ecosystem, problems that need solving or data and insights on the subject area. This information flow can help lead to creating ideas for the potential proposers looking at these challenges.

However this same written content does not need to be attached to a funding categorisation proposal that also puts a mandate on how much funding should be allocated. This same information can be shared separately and be integrated into the funding process to achieve a similar effect.

An issue with challenge setting is that the proposal team only has their own view point of what the ecosystem needs. As the ecosystem grows then increasingly over time it will mean challenge proposal teams would struggle to understand the full needs of the ecosystem.

A constantly growing ecosystem will make it increasingly difficult for challenge teams to be well informed to set appropriate budgets for funding categorisations that take into account other ecosystem needs when there are an increasing number of variables that they need to consider to make well informed suggestions. This is also an issue for voters who would also need to be more well informed when choosing challenge settings if the choices they make mean restricting funding to one area over another.

The solution to this problem is to simply not to attach the budget allocation to the goal and objective part of the challenge settings process. Communities can alternatively create goals and objectives, share insights and data and community reports to achieve the same outcome of helping to generate new ideas that can be further explored.

Potential Solutions

Community reports

Communities that form around a certain topic could add value by producing reports to help inform the rest of the community on that area. The reports could cover problems, data, insights, ideas or priorities. Data could come from the ecosystem usage or existing funded proposals. Problems and insights could come from observation, community feedback or through analysing data.

If executed to a high standard these reports could be effective for inspiring new ideas on what type of proposals the ecosystem would benefit from. These reports offer a similar approach to writing challenge settings by detailing out a problem area to address in the ecosystem. However community reports could become both more diverse with inclusions of data and insights and also more refined to a high quality by updating them repeatedly. The use of reports can lead to an effective approach to inform the community and inspire new ideas.

Community priority and problem voting

Doing democratic votes from the community on which problems exist or what goals and objectives can be considered and which of these are the most important in the short term could be a great way to indicate what idea would make good proposals in an upcoming Catalyst funding process.

Insight sharing tools & processes

Data and insights tools would be valuable to help see what is happening both inside and outside the ecosystem. Having a range of insights on what is happening can help with the generation of new ideas.

Community events and discussions

Idea generation can be achieved in a multitude of ways. One other way that the community can help to increase idea flow for the creation of relevant proposals is to host events or create processes that help the community come together and share ideas to collaborate on what areas could benefit most from further effort. These events can help lead to ideas and collaborations that resolve ecosystem problems.

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