If you are a working scientist, a recovering scientist, a revolutionary, or simply a geek looking for new innovations, take a look at Marblar. They’re creating a community to open up the process of invention and finding the right home for those inventions.
They call themselves “a democratic playground for creativity”, which sounds like fun and suggest that the community will bring together great ideas and great inventions. Apparently, it’s a three-step process: Scientists post their discoveries, you join other “marblars” to find creative ways to use those discoveries, finally you earn points, meet inventors and join startups. It sounds like a game, but as long as you don’t lose your marbles, it could be a game-changing game…
I asked Gabriel Mecklenburg from Marblar to explain a bit further:
“We work with universities to find dormant IP (i.e. the >90%) that isn’t being licensed or spun out and write it up in a challenge format – can you come up with a novel and commercially viable application for this? (A bit like Innocentive in reverse).” He adds that the challenges are always associated with points and trophies in the form of marbles (for e.g. top-voted ideas, offering helpful advice on other people’s ideas, winning competitions etc.) and some will have prize money associated with them. “It’s all about making the experience really fun for the users and creating a community where they can be proud of their “in-game” achievements,” he told me. “The inventor may then choose what to do with the winning entry (no IP is signed over to us). With our pilot challenge, they are in talks with the winner about starting a company based on his idea – not too bad for our first go.”
Marblar is run by three grad students from Oxford, Kings College London and Imperial College London who say they know only too well the pain of research just ending up in some drawer!