While sticking to rules can be anti-thetical to the idea of investing in new ideas and innovation in general, I do try to follow some meta-principles. Since the universe of ideas + execution + team is so large, it’s important to have some mental guidelines of what to look for.
1. Timeless: Will this idea and its subsequent form still be helpful 50 years from now? Is the goal a temporary fad or will it be helpful regardless of time and circumstance?
2. Product Form: Even if the idea is genuinely needed and helpful, can it be translated to an accessible form ?
3. Low Effort, Big Reward: Can it transfer user intent into something better and bigger than they would be able to do on their own? Technology is leverage. Is that leverage obvious in this case?
These guidelines are seperate from the usual (and still important) diligence of looking at team credentials, skill-set and their ability to bring their vision to reality.