Co-Op Worker Placement Mechanic

Working Hard
Little mechanical idea in search of a theme:

Consider a worker placement mechanic in which you collect whatever resource you get for placing your worker on that space. You also get a bit from any neighboring spaces, but only if they're occupied by another player's worker. This makes turn order a tricky thing, because by going first and getting the first choice, you may also enable your opponents to gather resources of their own.

It's an interesting idea. Not sure of a good theme for it though. Any ideas? I want to flesh this out a bit more for the blog. I asked folks on Google+ about it and the idea that must stuck out to me was flipping this as a co-op theme. Almost like research?

One researcher does the hard work to be the first discoverer of certain scientific evidence. Then follow-up researchers have an easier time developing their own new ideas, "standing on the shoulders of giants" as Einstein put it. This also brings to mind the Exodus Earth game idea I posted a few months ago. Possible juice there.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.