Something that should be taught from a young age is that just because you have a good idea, doesn't mean it is doable/worthwhile/cost-effective. In some cases it will never work for whatever reason, in other cases, it cannot fail because it is such a good idea that will cost little to implement but, of course, most ideas are somewhere in-between.

I was reading a tweet by David Gauke, Lord Chancellor, proposing a "great idea" for solving the problem of people who cannot work due to the virus epidemic and businesses who run essential services who cannot do their job because of people away sick.

Why, he opined, could we not have a registry that people could sign up to where they would be able to do various jobs depending on skill/experience which is better than no job and which would enable businesses to pay what they would normally pay for the extra staff and the government to take the main litigious risks such as insurance so that there isn't too much by way of contractual barriers to matching supply and demand.

A fantastic idea.

But just an idea and the devil, as they say, is in the detail!

We do not have this system so who will design it?
Which of the myriad people that it affects will need an input to decide whether the design is appropriate?
Who will build the site and arrange for its hosting?
Who will sign-off on the idea that it might cost X thousand per week to host and hand over the government credit card without due diligence on the costings?
Who will permit all of the good-practice procurement measures to be bypassed to save the 6 months it would take?
How would we avoid throwing a tonne of money at a large enterprise who might well produce something that is not fit-for-purpose while happily burning through the cash?
Who will support the site if it doesn't work?
Who will run the call centre when 5000 people are all calling to say something isn't right?
Who will decide whether the idea is even legal in less than 2 years that it takes to check out such legals?
Who will ensure that the system doesn't get gamed?
Who will handle the complaints that someone couldn't sign-up?
Who will arbitrate if there is more demand than supply?
What happens if someone is too qualified for a job and needs to swap to something else after being in another role for a period of time?
Who pays for that person to get to work?
Who is supposed to manage whether that person is any good at the job and should continue?
Who is going to do all the background checks that would usually take several weeks?
How are you going to avoid someone infecting people because they need a job and lie about being uninfected?
How are work permits going to be checked?
Who will manage who is allowed to access the system across thousands of businesses?
How will we produce Terms and Conditions that are not 100 pages long?

And we can't answer all these and more, is it worth the risk of even starting?

The answer is usually No, which is why these are just ideas and never see the light of day.

The only difference in business is that someone believes in themself enough to spend their own or investors money on something that has mileage, which usually means many months or even years of testing the market, iterating and setting up an amazing team, something the government doesn't have the luxury of.

Sorry David.