Ideas Are Easy... Execution Is Difficult

from the so-why-do-we-protect-the-ideas? dept

It's an ongoing theme around here, but ideas are everywhere. The real trick to making something great often has extremely little to do with the idea, and much more to do with the execution. That's where the real innovation occurs -- in taking an idea and trying to figure out how to make it useful. It's that process that's important, much more than the original idea. As nearly anyone who has brought a product from conception to market will tell you, what eventually succeeds in the market is almost always radically different than the original "idea." That's part of the reason why patents are so often harmful to innovation. The patent is for that core idea, which is rarely the key in making something successful. But by limiting who can innovate off of the idea (or just by making it much more expensive) you're limiting that process of innovation.

Some people disagree with this, but the failure of Cambrian House, once again seems to demonstrate the vast gap between ideas and execution. Cambrian House was a well-hyped company that tried to "crowdsource" new companies and products. I've paid attention to them for a while, since their business model had some similarities to what we do with the Techdirt Insight Community. However, as the founder of Cambrian House admitted in explaining the company's changing plans, it wasn't difficult to get people to come up with all sorts of interesting and exciting ideas -- but where the company failed was in getting anyone to actually execute on any of those ideas. Ideas are a starting point -- but it's high time that we stopped worshipping the idea, and started recognizing how much more important execution is in driving innovation.

Filed Under: execution, ideas, innovation
Companies: cambrian house

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 15 May 2008 @ 12:10pm

    It's a bald faced fact.

    Ow! How the facts hurt. I work as a consulting engineer. Over the years I've built some pretty neat stuff for people
    that had their million dollar idea.

    I've had some million dollar ideas myself but they seemed
    like too much work to implement. I'm risk adverse so I'd
    rather be paid by someone for working on their idea. It's
    just as much fun over the long haul but the rewards do
    diminish with diminishing risk.

    Some of the best ideas are stymied from being brought
    forth as products due to the enormous expenses of
    associated research, agency compliance, design costs
    that include but are not limited to tooling and fixturing,
    industrial design (how it looks and feels,) packaging,
    purchasing materials and fabrication.

    Sometimes there are technological barriers that require
    research and development to cross if possible. Many
    great ideas simply aren't feasible or practical to
    implement at the present time. Although I'd argue that
    if there's too great a hurdle it's not such a great idea
    to begin with.

    It takes a person dedicated to their million dollar
    idea to bring it to fruition. Few people, including
    myself, have what it takes.

    For some it's easier to have the idea then blame any
    failure on a corporate conspiracy rather that admit
    to an inherent laziness.

    The idea /is/ the easy part.

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