A while back I reached the stage where my ideas for research topics/papers exceeded my capacity to personally work on them. As a PostDoc, I tried to head-hunt students or more junior researchers in my area (or at conferences, etc.) to talk with them about the ideas and see if they would be interested in collaborating or co-authoring a paper. This worked well for a while.
But now (more recently) I find that I again have a back-log of promising topics that have exceeded my capacity to even advise/delegate. I have no students to work on them. The ideas are mixed in quality, concreteness, promise, etc. and I'm saving some of the ones I am most interested in for myself or for students. But I know that there are others I will have to neglect (and I often choose the "safer" topics since being in tenure-track, I have a constant hunger for publications).
Now I have a text file on my hard-drive with a list of sketches of ideas so that I remember them. But a lot of the details are left unexpressed in my head; most of the ideas in the text file would be pretty meaningless in their current form without some explanation, further development, context and/or motivation from me. At the same time, I have sufficient experience to know that there are interesting paper/thesis topics in there that I could help develop and/or advise if I had the time/money.
For some of the topics, I have been saying "some day" for too long.
In any case, I cannot imagine I am alone in this. I am sure that various researchers see many potentially promising research topics fall "by the wayside" due to more urgent, day-to-day matters. I sometimes wonder if other professors similarly have lists of research topics that just rot away in a text file somewhere. It would seem like such a waste if this were the case: think about the union of all these text files sitting on local hard-drives! It would seem to be a major flaw in the academic research system if this were prevalent: that the sharing of raw (or perhaps lightly pasteurised) ideas is not properly incentivised by "the system".
The question ...
Assuming I have a surplus of (good) ideas for research topics in my area – that I cannot work on myself and cannot delegate or even find time to actively advise – what should I do with them?
To avoid a loss of generality, a good answer should assume that I'm not a nice guy: what personal incentive would I have for sharing my ideas in this manner? I don't want to give away my ideas for free. These ideas require development and expression before they can be shared (which is difficult to do "up front"). If I am not incentivised to develop the ideas into a shareable form, the reality is that I will use my precious time to do something else I am incentivised to do.