3 Myths Regarding The Great Idea
|February 1, 2012||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
By: Roshawn Watson
What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? (No, it’s) an idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood,… sticks. Inception
Oh how we love great ideas! In fact, we are sometimes obsessed with proving them right. On the surface, that may seem like a good thing; however, sometimes we are so focused on the idea that we forget that the real goal is winning the game. Many have become phenomenally successful without ever originating a single great idea themselves. In short, the idea is the starting point at best; accordingly, don’t assume that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Instead, ensure the outcome by giving your idea legs. Here are 3 myths regarding the “great idea.”
Myth 1: The Idea Is Enough
Visionaries, dreamers, and builders are all too familiar with the euphoria associated with coming up with world changing ideas. However, if you fail to properly implement these ideas, your genius will often go unrecognized.
Implementation is key.
There is only so much credit one gets for conception. For example, you cannot even patent an idea. You typically patent is the method of implementation of an idea. There are many innovative businesses that have been buried by well-capitalized competitors savvy enough to exploit easily reproducible models. These “new” models often only have slight modifications but are heavily promoted as improvements and sometimes coupled with other offerings (i.e., extensive catalog, network, or infrastructure) to provide “added value.” Soon the originators become an afterthought, and their competitive advantage dissipates. Technology is riddled with examples of this, such as Friendster, Myspace, and Propeller (and its parent company AOL).
Unfortunately, the implementation is sometimes the least desirable part of the process. For instance, it may be fun creating talks and speaking to audiences of over 10,000 while collecting $30,000 honorariums per talk; however, it may not be pleasant honing those speaking skills at your local rotary clubs and dealing with “peanut gallery” critiques. I recently heard one speaker say that his flagship annual conference, which draws 100,000 attendees, requires a minimum of 10 months of preparation by his team. He recognized long ago that the greatest resource to any visionary is often sweat equity. Similarly, do not underestimate the key steps needed to bring your dreams into fruition. Don’t be so obsessed with the idea that you never give it legs. Wealth rarely falls into the hands of the person who originated the idea partly because he is often so focused on the idea that he never take the steps to make it reality.
In short, the idea may open the door, but it is what you do next that decides if the door remains open.
Myth 2: You Must Originate The Idea
I can think of one mistake in particular that I am still paying for years after the fact. I thought I knew the correct path. I had a track record in other areas that I believed would be transferable to this arena. I was royally wrong. My backers rightfully disengaged from me. Years later, I am still haven’t achieved what I had adequate resources to accomplish long ago. Quite honestly, it’s embarrassing and painful to even think about. I understandably don’t like discussing it. Nonetheless, I believe in do overs. I’m still very hopeful, particularly because I’m gaining significant traction and am much better prepared now than before. However, boy did I pay a price for being “right!”
Sometimes we fail to implement winning ideas because we did not originate them. Perhaps, the most interesting aspect of my aforementioned adventure is that the very thing that I was vehemently opposed to, I now do to an even greater extent than was originally suggested. That’s because the “first mover” advantage is now lost and because I realize just how powerful that advice was. In my opinion, my failure to incorporate a winning strategy represented an arrogance of sorts. I underestimated what it would require to excel in that area. Others saw what I didn’t and thrived. Likewise, we must ask ourselves if arrogance is causing us to lose? Don’t fail to adopt a winning strategy for pride sake.
Pride goes before destruction.
Myth 3: The Best Ideas Win
I wish I could tell you the best always win. However, we don’t live in a true meritocracy. Even if objective criteria are established to assess one’s performance, it is people who are usually interpreting the results, so that fact in itself adds a level of subjectivity. We all know singers, for example, who possess an uncanny ability to deliver show-stopping performances and yet will never likely pack out stadiums or even have a hit record. Similarly, often the most talented performers in many TV competitions are sent home week after week because they can’t muster the votes. We can attribute such events to lack of “star power,” ” commercial appeal,” or the “X Factor,” but regardless of what you call it, we all know there is more to succeeding in the entertainment industry than technical abilities. In fact, we celebrate the Susan Boyles of the world because they are the few exceptions rather than the norm.
The same is true with regards to ideas. It is certainly possible to have the best idea without experiencing a high level of success. Sometimes it is due to a poor plan of execution, as discussed above. Other times, it could result from poor timing. For example, although there are exceptions, launching a luxury product just as a major recession is starting is typically not the best course of action. Another reason is that one’s environment may be full of toxic influences and incompetence. It hard to soar like an eagle when you are hanging out with chickens. The point is that having the best idea in no way guarantees success. Think of it this way: the great idea often provides one with the opportunity to play the game rather than securing the championship title.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” – Henry David Thoreau
Everyone has had an idea that could have dramatically changed the course of his or her life. It’s not the idea that makes the difference though; it’s what one does with the idea that counts. Thus, don’t settle for the commercial version of your idea. If you are convinced your idea has value, then develop a plan of action, be willing to evaluate the performance of that plan, and realize that there are other factors that are critical to your success. Only then, will you enjoy the spoils of victory. If you have a wonderful idea, congratulations: you are officially 10% done.
Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.