A thought experiment. What would happen if we crowdsourced a price – not just a sum – per kilo of ocean plastic retrieved? This would require solving a few interesting problems along the way but would not be impossible.
First, we would need to develop a means to crowdsourced prices rather than sums. What we would then need to do is to require the contributors to pay a part of some price – per kilo, hour etc – and define some upper limit for their engagement. This would of course equate to a sum, but the point would be to highlight that the crowd is setting a price, not collecting a sum.
Second, we would need to be able to verify the goods or services bought. How would we, for example, determine if a kilo of ocean plastic really is from the ocean? This may require a few process innovations but surely is not impossible.
With these problems solved we can start asking interesting questions. At what price do we begin seeing progress? At what price may we solve the problem in it’s entirety?
What if we committed to paying 150, 1500, 15000 USD a kilo of ocean plastic? At what point does this turn into a natural resource to be mined like any other? At what time do oil companies start filtering the ocean for plastic?
This also suggests that we should also examine moving from innovation prizes to innovation prices.