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THE POINT IS...


“Ideas are worth nothing” is a phrase that sounds wise, but it is not!

Ideas are worth nothing is a myth

Bringing ideas to life and making them a reality has been a large part of my work and my business for a very long time — nearly 20 years and counting. So when I hear someone say that ideas are worth nothing, I call it out. So, if you have believed that ideas are worth nothing, then today, I want to give you five reasons to reconsider your opinion.

In my experience, the context usually decides whether the idea is worth something or not. Think about a situation when we have a pressing problem, and we are desperately trying to fix it. If you are anything like me, you will go on asking for ideas from everyone. We want someone to give us that little nudge, that little spark so that we can have an aha moment. And that might just help us in solving our problem. That desperation means even the slightest feasible idea is worth a lot.

And that means is that the worth of an idea has a direct link to the context. So, while in the case of abundance, every idea gets scrutinized and seems useless, in a desperate situation, the slightest hint of an idea is worth a lot.

In the case of abundance, every idea gets scrutinized and seems useless. In a desperate situation, the slightest hint of an idea is worth a lot.

Now, I know you must be asking, what about implementation? Because, unless we execute the idea, make it really big, that idea is just that – an idea. A contraption that your brain has thought about. And you would be right. Because after proper implementation, the mere idea looks relatively small. But in the beginning, an idea is all you’ve got.

Implementation follows the idea, not the other way round. The idea is the first step, and therefore essential as all other steps. What will you execute if there is no idea? So why not give due credit to the idea that triggers our thought process or implementation? I think we should.

Always give due credit to the idea that triggers our thought process or implementation.

But why do we have patents and copyrights if ideas are worth nothing? You see, corporations protect those ideas and concepts vigorously for a reason. They know the value of ideas. That is why they protect them strongly. When people copy an idea, it becomes more valuable because you effectively remove the innovation cost in that case.

And yet, in the world of startups, the meme persists that “Ideas are worth nothing.” This is convenient, especially for venture capitalists, who rely on free information flow without NDAs. And then other people, who really don’t have any experience of being paid to come up with ideas on demand, further endorse it. 

But, of course, most of them want to appear business savvy and avoid looking naïve, so they do it. But remember, patents and copyrights exist because ideas are not worth nothing.

Patents and copyrights exist because ideas are not worth nothing.

Have you ever sat through ideation or brainstorming workshops? Did you ever wonder why do we spend hours and hours? Particularly if the ideas coming out of them are worth nothing. Why would someone be ready to waste their time in generating something worthless?

Well, it’s simple. The ideas are not worthless after all. We need many ideas before shortlisting a few and eventually implementing one. Even then, we need that one “idea” to implement. So calling it worthless doesn’t make any sense.

We need many ideas before shortlisting a few and eventually implementing one.

I think when most of us say that someone’s idea is worthless, deep down, we are not questioning that idea. Instead, we are questioning the credibility of that person who came up with it. So, the provenance of any idea is quite important. Who brings up that idea can make it worth a lot; or nothing. So, looking at the idea in conjunction with the originator makes more sense.

Who brings up that idea can make it worth a lot; or nothing.

You see, the hammer and nail combination works well. But what is the point of a hammer if you don’t have a nail? And how good a nail is if you don’t have a hammer? Instead of blatantly saying that ideas are worthless and execution is everything, think about three things.

Idea plus planning & design plus execution; this is the trio that is more important than the individual parts. A merely brilliant idea doesn’t yield anything. A detailed plan is pointless if it never gets executed. Likewise, excellent execution won’t be useful if the idea is poor. But when you have an excellent idea. It is planned out well, the solution is well designed, and executed immaculately; you have hit the jackpot.

Good idea + Detailed plan & design + Seamless execution = Gold

Here is another thing to consider. Some ideas can be immensely powerful, and they can also spread easily. And the results may be worthwhile for the community or humanity at large. But still, that idea may not have any commercial value. I mean, the idea won’t be worth much for a business, but great for society.

The point is, coming up with a creative idea on demand usually involves a process or a plan. And to undermine that is like saying that ideas at Apple are worthless because their products are actually created by other people in China.

“Ideas are worth nothing” is a phrase that sounds wise, but it is not. Ideas are worth nothing is a lie, don’t fall for it.

“Ideas are worth nothing” is a phrase that sounds wise, but it is not. Ideas are worth nothing is a lie, don’t fall for it.

 

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