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 Coward, 16 May 2008 @ 4:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's a bald faced fact.

    Now here is a case where a research had no hope of building their won Microprocessor company but he did make a very useful bit of progress to the useful arts and sciences. Surely you would think he deserved to be rewarded.

    Why should he be rewarded for an idea he didn't do anything with? If I have the idea for the greatest fast food restaurant in the world, but do nothing with it, more power to McDonalds for actually making it work. If you don't do anything with your ideas, you don't deserve the rewards taken away from those who actually do put in the effort.

    You are also going back to the false assumption that these ideas are unique and no one else would have discovered it soon enough (if they hadn't already).

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