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
    Nicole, 15 May 2008 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Improving the Interface.

    Also, there isn't any inefficiency in connecting inventors to manufacturers in the absence of patents, so I'm not sure why you need a separate system to facilitate it.

    This is where I see NPEs being unambiguously useful: an independent inventor has a fantastic idea; however, he just doesn't have the means to bootstrap the invention himself, and no one will listen to him....except the NPE. He gets paid for his idea, the public benefits from the product, the corporation that licenses the patent makes money from the product, etc. Everyone wins! Doesn't this happen sometimes?

    That's only true (again) if you overvalue the importance of the idea part.

    I guess this is the divide.

    If you take requests, I'd be very interested to read your opinion on the role of Big Pharma in all of this. It seems pretty plain to me that pharmaceutical companies get screwed if patent strength is weakened. This is a bad thing, agreed? How do you deal with the issues you see with the current system without harming the innovators within this industry?

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