A Ping-Pong Match: Problems & Solutions in Entering the Innovation Game [Part 2]

A Ping-Pong Match: Problems & Solutions in Entering the Innovation Game [Part 2]


In the first part of this Problem/Solution article-series, we shed some light on today’s innovation landscape, and, using the ping-pong analogy, we’ve started to outline the flaws of the system as it is now.

In this second part of the series, we will break down the Innovation chain and take a closer look at the main elements involved in it.

4. Alternative Finance, blind trust, and the financial monolith.

In fact, other than previous moments in time, today’s easier access to information and data, combined with a worldwide, instant communication between people in different sides of the globe, has the potential to unlock new, interesting ways for individuals to create, contribute, and collaborate in generating innovation. Obviously, and that’s the very reason why we are writing about it, this potential hasn’t been unlocked yet, but let’s see how the “innovation game” has been played in our times, and what we have been doing right or wrong during the process.

First of all, coming back to the triangle of innovation — (1.) product, (2.) funds, (3.) team — is fair to notice how in the last decades we have seen a continuous attempt to lower the barriers in entering the market of innovation, disregarding the industry, again, anything spanning from high-tech to entertainment. This has been done consistently, especially regarding point (2.) — raising funds for an idea/project — in fields such as Alternative Finance, a niche of Fintech, and one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

Examples of such attempts are reward-based and equity-sharing Crowdfunding and p2p lending in traditional industries, and ICOs, STOs and other variations in crypto / p2p-based financial markets. In these cases, the inventor(s)/creator(s) of the idea propose(s) it publicly in order to raise interest and crowd-raise funds from a global audience. Now, being an alternative way to fund an idea/project, these practices have structural, in-built flaws. Namely, they are:

a. being public, the idea/project may easily be taken off their showcase in a platform and developed elsewhere by someone else with more funds/resources.

b. hand-in-hand with the growth in visibility of the bigger players in the field (KickstarterIndiegogo, … on Crowdfunding side, and loosely EthereumWings, … on ICO side) the competition within these platforms kept growing as well, generating not only scams and malpractices, but also starting to require an initial budget — higher and higher with time — for building a prototype, plus a solid team to back the idea in order to move forward with the crowdfunding side of the process.

This way, despite they somehow shook the monolithic, traditional approach to innovation, alternative financing practices started to require the other two sides of the triangle — product+team — in order to get (part) of the third, the funds. Moreover, they are by default non-secure for users, creators, and contributors, as these three categories have no safe, trustless way to transact directly the one with the other or being rewarded for implementing someone else’s project.

The problem in this, once again, is that the process is in itself (a.) fully centralized and fully dependant on the platform and a “blind trust” in a third-party, and (b.) being a micro-service, rather than an overall infrastructure, it gives little to no incentives to the different users to collaborate and build something better as a whole, rather than focusing on a short-sighted individual benefit.

5. Gig Economy, downward auctions, and incentives.

As for the other angles, (1) building a product and/or (3) setting up a team, there is no lack of examples to bootstrap the process as well. Let’s start by approaching these two sides of the triangle at once, referring to practices which come directly from the Gig Economy — an umbrella term which defines task/gig-based contribution in a project/product/service, in which freelancers and/or outsourced team support independent innovators or core teams in achieving their goals.

As a reference for these, we may think of platforms such as Fiverr or Elance in the traditional environment, and the still young, but ambitious, CanYa project in Blockchain space.

Now, again, despite these services offer visibility and access to financial benefits for freelancers, and affordable human resources for developing/implementing a product, they:

a. do not give enough incentives to contributors for them to be responsible for their own contributions, as they work on commission for a temporary employer. This makes them external, cheap workforce, without an actual weight within the projects in which they are involved.

b. despite freelancers/contributors are able sometimes, in certain platforms, to negotiate their price, this price is not an actual benchmark determined by the community or the impact or the contribution itself, but just an agreement apriori, requiring trust from both sides.

Again, we can see how these solutions do not provide real access to innovation to their participants, which are rather used as cheap workforce, without an actual weight in the project in which they are involved. Moreover, their incentives (read, financial benefits) are not determined by the market itself, the community and/or an actual exchange of value — but in most cases their rewards are based on a sort of downward auction, where the lowest bidder “wins the gig” favoring affordability over quality, ignoring the impact this has on the product itself, and on the contributors/economical ecosystem involved.

That said, instead of trying to fix the problem compartment by compartment, cubicle by cubicle — a-Qube uses Project Management frameworks and tries to create an open-ecosystem for distributed innovation, lowering the entry-barriers for independent players, and enhancing a process through which business-focused ideas can easily be implemented into valuable digital assets.

In one sentence, again, the value is built along the process, in a cooperative way, rather than bouncing the innovation ball back and forth in a ping-pong kind of match.

In the next and final part of this series, not only we will introduce a new, juicy analogy to the innovation play, but we will also focus on market validation, which we consider the main criterion in supporting ideas to get back their role as the structural pattern of innovation!

Announcing a-Qube Bounty Campaign (First wave)!

At a-Qube we are building the first decentralized marketplace of ideas, using blockchain technology to break the prototyping process into easily executable, self-filtering tasks and leveraging the power of collaborative intelligence to turn raw ideas into real business proposals.

Relying on our proprietary Consensus model, and using Game Theory, Storytelling tools and Blockchain technology, we propose a system which breaks the prototyping process into easy-executable, self-filtering tasks and creates value along the process.

We’re kicking it off with the first wave of our bounty campaign. We’d like to encourage our community to help to spread the word about a-Qube’s vision, and earn QUBs as rewards!

There are a total of 200,000 QUBs (worth 100,000 USD) allocated to this bounty!

The funds will be split into different campaigns in such a format:

  1. Social Media Campaign: 48%
  2. Video Campaign: 30%
  3. Content Campaign: 22%

Terms & Conditions

  1. a-Qube Bounty Campaign will last for 4weeks, running from 01.05.2019 till 01.06.2019.
  2. Up to 200 000 QUBE Tokens, worth 100 000 USD ($100k), will be added to our Bounty Pool, available to be rewarded to participants.
  3. Each user is allowed to participate with one account only. In the case of multiple active accounts, the participant will be banned from the campaign and their rewards will be added back to the Reserve.
  4. Rewards will be distributed following a-Qube Roadmap and will be added to User’s Wallets within 2 weeks from the end of a-Qube ICO.
  5. Participants to a-Qube Bounty campaign must have reached the legal age — which means they must be at least 18 years old, or whatever the legal age is in their native countries.
  6. In order to participate, don’t forget to fill in the relevant submission form, and join our Telegram channel to be always up to date!

Please check out out Bitcointalk thread for full details and participation. Good luck everyone!

A Ping-Pong Match: Problems and Solutions in Entering the Innovation Game [Part 1]

A Ping-Pong Match: Problems and Solutions in Entering the Innovation Game [Part 1]

Entering the market as an independent player is traditionally hard because of a lack of funds, a well-defined prototype and a time-tested team with complementary skills ready to stand on the long-run. Initial business-focused concepts and ideas are undervalued, considered as a problem-solving skill, rather than a legitimate asset to profit with.

In the first part of this Problem/Solution article-series, we’ll take a look at the main problems for regular people entering today’s innovation game.

  1. The Innovation game, selection of the fittest, and a ping-pong match

Let’s consider the traditional innovation landscape as a ping-pong match: on one side we have the innovators, who may be anyone and anything from a “garage-kind” of entrepreneur to a multi-billion dollar multinational company — and on the other side, we have the consumers of the innovation itself, which is the majority of our society.

Continuing with the ping-pong example, innovation is developed and implemented by the first team of innovators, which serves the innovative product/solution/service to the second team of the consumers. If the innovative product is successful, the first set finishes there, and both parties move to the next turn. If instead, the product doesn’t work, or for whatever reason doesn’t satisfy them, the second team serves the ball back to the first team for them to rework it or make it better. In this analogy consumers and innovators keep serving each other innovation back and forth on the two sides of the table.

Now, the ping-pong analogy is clearly an exaggeration, but that’s not far from showing the actual inefficiency of this process, where standard innovators try to predict what their consumers may want and anticipate their desires. Besides being ineffective, this process is extremely expensive and, most of all, arbitrary. In fact, how did innovators get to be such? Who determined, or elected them to be the fittest for the role of doing something better?

Because that’s what innovation is, after all: doing something better. Whether it is improving a process, creating something more enjoyable/entertaining, bringing more transparency or saving costs, innovation in general terms makes things better.

2. The triangle of innovation, apiculture and where ideas come from

Since in the initial analogy we already identified the common denominator in innovation being the teams of innovators and users, we can skip that part — but still, innovation is a broad term. Everything from flying cars to growth hacking techniques in an apicultural campaign may be considered innovative at times, disregarding their industry.

Now, as it is not the purpose of this article, we won’t be trying to get a final, over-encompassing definition of what innovation is — rather raising a more interesting question: who or what generates innovation? And how to get involved in the process?

A trivial answer to the first question would be: people, companies, society — but we can go deeper than that. In fact, as we have learned in school about the great inventors across the centuries, and we have seen in our times with the rise of peer economics and alternative finance, innovation in itself is just the application of a raw idea. Unfortunately, though, as we already know ideas are worthless — so again, how to enter at some step of the innovation chain? How can an inventor, a creator of our time, enter the gigantic production/business industry and bring innovation in everyone’s life?

Let’s see it this way, after the most unpolished & unshaped idea has been conceived, the real innovation race starts — passing through the prototyping of a product, the funding spree, the personal thunderbolt of building a team.

These three elements — product, funds, team — constitute a sort of triangle of innovation, and the three of them together, across a long process, pack the initial idea into a good product/solution/service to be served to a consumer of some sort as in the ping-pong analogy mentioned above.

3. Building a table to play, intangible assets, and peer networks

And what about us? What are we supposed to do in order to be part of the process and join the innovators team, so to speak, and ideally get a share of the value we pushed forward in our society?

Well, there’s no easy answer to that, as not only ideas, in themselves, are hard to monetize, but together with contributions, creativity and any kind ofhuman capital are in nature intangible assets — hard both to manage as well as to quantify. (Here and here you can see more on how to quantify the ideation process, though, if you were willing to try it yourself nonetheless.)

The value, for being determined in a measurable way, should be built along the process, rather than beforehand, and we still lack an encompassing infrastructure where the elements of the innovation-match are not needed or are naturally embedded within the system itself.

Our solution to this, rather than improving one process or the other, is to build the table where this innovation-match is played — a real peer network, a human layer of innovation where anyone with a valuable idea or contribution could enter and exit at any time they wish.

This way, a-Qube’s platform functions as an Innovation Hub where the different participants play their role in the community, either as auditors, validators, creators, contributors or merchants. Each player can easily take part in the network by contributing to a specific task, section, or project at their choice, being rewarded for their contribution without the need to be involved in further stages.

In the second part of this series, we will analyze these elements point-by-point, and build the bigger picture progressively.

Ideas are Worthless

Ideas are Worthless

Let’s start this way: ideas are worthless.

Imagine you’re sitting at a café with a friend, enjoying a chat, deep in the conversation and then… you have an idea. That one thing which could really make an impact, shake the status quo, make a difference.

Well, it could — if only you knew the right people, or had enough time—and if you had the money, of course. It’s not like you can offer your friend a coffee, or go out there creating something new paying it with an idea. You need money for that.

Let’s restart, go back to the beginning: let’s imagine a place where ideas do have value. Where ideas are an actual currency. A place in which during your conversation, you can simply tell your friend, ‘this one is on me’, go to the cashier and pay for the coffee in exchange for a part of your idea. Sounds good, no?

Well, that’s where a-Qube started from.

We live in a high-speed, hyper-innovative, digital society — the world has truly become a ‘global village’, yet, ideas remain underrated. Sure, we need ideas to inspire us to get up each morning, we need them to carry out a specialized job, to communicate with people, to coordinate a team, to post a meditative selfie on Instagram, and ultimately, to provide proof-of-humanity in the ongoing Turing test.

However, Ideas have no market for themselves, only if they are packed into a specific role — in a corporation, a problem-solving exercise, or a specific production need. They are not profitable on their own, they are not an asset. We can’t use them as a medium of exchange. We need sound currency for that. Only issue: currencies have no inner value. From gold to fiat to bitcoin, the only the value they have is the value we attribute to them, in order to exchange them for equal value.

Now imagine a society where ideas were the only currency. If your innovative idea were to be represented as a token which you could exchange for anything, what would you do with it? How would you spend your token? Imagine a marketplace of ideas, where innovation is not siloed in boxes, produced and packaged somewhere in a series of small cubicles within a gigantic corporation, but rather self-organized… human. Where real people ideate and develop the products which real people are going to use. A chain of innovation based on a human layer, where ideas are the currency used to transact value between each other.

The core concept of the ‘Marketplace of Ideas’ refers to freedom of expression analogous with a free market environment, and it states that the truth — as in true value — will emerge from a transparent competition of ideas in a free market, where the participants establish the relevance of an idea for the benefit of the community in a meritocratic process, based on a public vote.

That is exactly what we are building.

Using Game Theory, Blockchain technology, and Storytelling tools, a-Qube is building the first decentralized Marketplace of Ideas, a peer-to-peer Mobile Incubator where Ideas have value and all the participants are rewarded in a meritocratic way, based on the value of their contribution established by the community. We rely on a proprietary Consensus Algorithm and a mathematical predictive model in order to break the prototyping process into easy executable, self-filtering tasks and turn innovative Ideas into Profitable Assets.

An open-source, self-organizing ecosystem where ideas are treated as structural patterns of the Market, giving back the control of solutions to the end-users — and the power to create, influence and ultimately challenge the Market.

So let’s restart from the beginning one last time: you, your friend, the café, and your idea which will change everything.

a-Qube is creating a place where ideas have value. The next coffee is on us.

Mr. & Mrs. A