I don't think it's really possible to investigate or research something without leaving some
footprint behind. Especially if you do it mostly online where everything is ultimately trackable. And it's probably a quixotic quest to even attempt to get completely around that.
What's really important is what gets done
with an idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen and not protectable for precisely that reason. Humans progress by freely borrowing, adapting, and exchanging ideas. It's what we do. And probably what we always will do despite so much recent misguided IP legal theory to the contrary.
I get tapped a couple of times a month on average by somebody who wants to discuss an "idea" for something. Usually a new business. I tell them to put together a preliminary business and marketing plan first and then
I'll be happy to discuss it with them. That's usually the last I ever hear from them - either because they can't be bothered to do the work of putting a plan together - or because they did
do a plan and realized their idea either wasn't (a) doable or (b) worth doing.
I've come to believe planning
are the three most critical factors for success in almost every human endeavor. A brilliant or original idea lands somewhere around eighth in importance. And originality
is vastly overrated when it comes to building or conducting a business. So is genius
, whatever that overused word still means.
If somebody has an original ideal they want to pursue, I think the best approach is to stop worrying about somebody stealing it. Somebody stealing your original business model
is a different story. But business models are really about the execution
of an idea. They're not the idea
Got an idea? Gather together three or four people who's opinion and insight you can trust and bounce it off them. If it looks like a go, add a few more people with domain specific expertise
and sit down (under a non-disclosure agreement if you feel the need) and have at it hammer and tongs. Usually within a group of carefully selected cronies and advisors there will be enough expertise to evaluate an idea and start something rolling. And all without making too public a hoo-hah.
Don't know if this adequately addresses your original question, but hey, I get on a roll every so often.