Ideas versus Execution

I see a lot of people and companies focus on the idea phase of Innovation. "How do I get my ideas in front of the right people?", "Why aren't great ideas adopted in the marketplace?", "How can I get my company to get more innovative ideas?", "What techniques do you use for brainstorming and generating ideas?"

Sorry, those are the wrong questions (I feel like James Cromwell from I, Robot).

In my experience, ideas are a dime a dozen. It is rare to hear new to the world ideas, in any context.

Innovation, in my estimation, is a function of execution. The willingness of companies to try new things in the absense of data and the ability to execute superbly on those ideas. That's innovation.

I will say this about ideas: the best ideas are formulated by a wide variety of individuals and iterated over time. The Lone Innovator, as a percentage of overall ideas, is not the source of great ideas. Rather, ideas are refined over and over and over and over, across companies, across continents, across people. The best ideas are those that have been refined by a diverse set of people with a wide variety of perspectives.

The biggest blocker to innovation, in my estimation, is a company's willingness to try new things. Or, more accurately, they are waiting for data that doesn't exist (and won't exist until someone executes on said idea). Yes, I'm preaching from Innovator's Dilemma; nonetheless, seems like many people are not getting the message :)

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