Spore had plenty of good ideas, it simply failed to present them in a compelling manner.
Ironically, the simplest phase of the Spore game, the cellular minigame, was the best one (if only because the simplicity matched the tone and feel of that part of the game perfectly).
Problem with this sort of ideas is making them fun. Having players take turns at what essentially is a slightly more complex Game of Life isn't the pinnacle of entertainment.
What I personally would've loved to see with Spore is a series of games, with each game focusing on a single phase exclusively, and then providing the option to carry the results to the next "phase" should you choose to.
Oh darn.... No, no, no, no, I have to focus on my current project.... BRAIN! STOP HAVING IDEAS!