I expect reference designs to help getting a system, subsystem or single chip up and running. They might spark my intuition but are not expected to do so.
The 'typical' design idea is less about the application of something given than about solving a problem with deficient means: working around lack of pins, stretching design limits, and so on. The design ideas I am perceiving are far beyond reference designs. AND: these DIs are the things sparking my imagination!
What could help in a limited number of applications (thinking of SMPS and high frequency designs) is what is given in the better reference designs: layout (hints) and tips on how to address "first order" problems.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...