We all have them. Ideas, right? How many times have you thought of something… and then sometime later you see it happen? Someone else has done it. Someone has re-invented or improved something that you’ve already thought about. It’s what drives us to buy new products. If we had to compare a new car to the same model from two years ago, there are many upgrades and new features.
Generally, we express our ideas through conversation and social gatherings. It might be accidental like voicing your frustration while using something that could really work a lot better, like those old can openers. Often, it is intentional: we convince ourselves that our idea is so good, that it could turn into a fantastic business or marketable product. We thus bounce our ideas off other people… and most of the time, this is where ideas die. We bounce them off the nay-sayers; which comprises the majority of people, who are sceptical, risk-averse and definitely not known for their abilities to evolve ideas into anything. And then…. we listen to those nay-sayers. Yes, we do. We buy into their version of why our idea cannot work – instead of researching for ourselves – and, generally, that’s where the idea ends.
At other times, we never even share the idea with anyone. Because great ideas can sometimes be just that: an idea. We don’t all use a defunct tool and on the spot decide to invent and build a better one.
Some of us might take a leap of faith and build a prototype. Many do, but many projects fail at this stage too, just before completion. Why? Because it’s not easy. It’s like building your own home. The last 5 to 10% is the really difficult part!
It’s the same in any company trying to encourage innovation. Aside from the naysayers discouraging their team members to share ideas… There are many great ideas, fewer qualified ideas with prototypes and even fewer ideas that have evolved into business solutions. Without the drive and passion to evolve an idea into practicality, it will always be just another idea, even if it’s a great idea. Organizations that want to keep ahead of the competition and keep innovation alive, have to employ positive people who have drive and passion to evolve ideas into solutions.
It’s okay for people to highlight risks and tell you what you cannot do – sometimes it might be of great help in refining your ideas. But don’t let it discourage you, don’t give up on your ideas. All great ideas start with a blank page, but it takes someone with great drive and passion to turn it into a completed project.
I have not answered my own question and I still wonder. Do companies record ideas and decide which ones to execute or do the thinkers have to jump to action to make their ideas happen?