Photo: Jack Dorsey via Flickr
I meet a lot of people who are enamoured of “ideas.””I’ve got all of these great ideas,” they will say, “I only need to find a way to sell them.” Or, someone mentions at a cocktail party that she would like to start her own company and another person will say, “now all you need is the big idea.” The other day someone told me of their plan to build a marketplace for ideas.
Well, I have news for you: ideas are easy.
Ideas are important, they are the spark that lights innovation. But as anyone who has tried to do anything new will tell you, doing the idea is the hard part. I don’t know any entrepreneurs sitting at home wishing they had more ideas.
As my friend Guido Stompff aptly describes ideas are the result of interactions, and they can to some extent be generated by putting yourself in the right frame of mind and environment. Ideas are everywhere. Execution on the other hand takes insight, skill, experience, and above all: balls.
(An important distinction in this light is the different between execution and operation. Execution is about building and creating, whereas operation is about repetition, control and predictability. When executing innovation in particular, you find yourself in uncharted waters, building something that’s not there. )
And as we enter the age of entrepreneurship, there is a particular group of people who are especially well positioned to thrive in this environment. You probably know them by the call sign “creatives.” Designers, programmers, artists, etc. People who are used to making things (which, of course, is what creative means).
Ironically, it is the creative scene that people look up to for being good with ideas, while in reality these people are particularly good at moving from an idea to a thing. They can execute, and they don’t need a lot of meetings to do it well. Magic happens by doing, trying, iterating until you find a solution that works.
And as the tools needed to run the back end of your business become digitized one by one, and in the process become better and cheaper, it’s now easier than ever to start and run a business.
Just like what happened to the web, where most businesses nowadays are started by engineers who can execute on their own idea, I think we’ll start to see more and more companies making “stuff,” services and meta products being started and run by the people who conceive of the products, rather than MBAs armed with spread sheets.
So instead of spending your time searching for The Big Idea and looking for a scalable business model, learn from creatives, and be a designer, a craftsman, a storyteller, and a sales person and bring your ideas to life by relentless execution.
If you do that well, the rest will tend to take care of itself.
This post also appeared at the author’s blog, Klatergoud.
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