July 29, 2014

The Importance of Ideas as the Real Fire of Innovation

The Importance of an Idea as the Real Fire of Innovation

I have heard the phrase a hundred million times: “ideas are nothing without someone to realize them”. Which is kinda true, I mean, we all have the most awesome ideas in history, and we all think we deserve to become the next billionaire thanks to them, but in the end we never find the guts and/or have the capacity to realize them, we keep dreaming and sighing.
Even from an entrepreneurial point of view, VCs do not fund simple “ideas” anymore, there’s too much at stake to risk on a simple yet awesome idea.

However, I believe there’s a lot of confusion around the topic.

There is Idea And Idea

The value of a simple abstract idea is very low.
One of my associates – who is surely going to kill me for mentioning it – has this awesome idea of a rotatory fridge: to avoid old food getting hidden by new food, a rotatory fridge can, well, rotate, and show all the food slowly, as it spins. Hey I’d love one of those, but that’s just an idea. No one would fund it (but if some of you wants to fund it however, let me know ok?).
First of all, the idea doesn’t take into consideration every possible problem. What kind of engine do I need for the rotation? Will it heat too much? Will it draw too much power? Is there enough space for the shelves to rotated without having the fridge be as big as a truck? Will the rotation make the food fall over? How about the noise?
These questions account for a good part of why no one would just pour money into it without a proper study on the actual possibility of making the idea real.

And then there are those ideas that are less ideas and more proto-projects, as I like to call them.
The fundamental difference lies in the person who has the idea, and its field of application.

My associate isn’t an industrial designer, and he doesn’t know much about fridges apart that they hold food and they are cold. He really couldn’t make up an idea to look like a proto-project, something less abstract and more along the lines of “wow, we can make this”.
Every person has a certain field of expertise they can operate in. My team can have awesome ideas about web applications or 3D products which are not just ideas, but real drafts of projects, something we can actively work on with the realistic expectation of realizing it within a certain deadline.

Idea as a Project

Let me make a real example to clarify things up a bit.

I can think of our 3D shopping mall, Virtuy.
Anyone not into technology could’ve ideated something like this:

“I don’t really trust this e-commerce thing. It doesn’t feel much safe to me, I mean, I would like for example, I dunno, to enter a shop like that Virtual Reality thing of the late 90s, and maybe see what I am about to buy, touch it, read instructions, talk to someone in this… ‘shop’, to help me out in my choice, something like this you know?”

That’s a cool idea. But no one is gonna bet on it, trust me.

A person with some expertise would come up with that very same idea in these terms:

“E-commerce can feel very impersonal and intimidating to new users. If we integrate the experience of something along the lines of Second Life into it, a virtual experience with your personal avatar walking through shops, browsing objects on shelves, either made in 3D or through photos, access a shopping cart directly from within the 3D experience, it would be possible to buy directly from it and you could use all the marketing ‘tricks’ used in real world, like products placement and so on”

Well this is more like it. Something realistic, omitting stuff that is perhaps too advanced (like “touching” a product) and focusing on more realistic things, something you can safely bet it’s doable.

Developing this kind of idea is about writing the draft of a project which will help you starting to work on it.

Not All Ideas Are Worth Nothing

As you see, there’s value in some ideas, a lot of value. Don’t get me wrong, many times, especially in the past, even a simple abstract idea was enough to make people rich. But don’t forget, it’s often the curated version of the story that gets to our ears. It’s awesome to read a poetic tale of how a simple student started to work on something with his friends in his house garage and ended up billionaire, but the tale forgets to mention how freaking hard it was to get to that, the nights spent not sleeping but working, the tons of “no” from venture capital funds, the banks wanting money back and so on.

My final encouragement is: have lots of ideas, nurture them, they move this world, but don’t think an idea is enough to be rich and successful. It’s lot of hard work to make that idea come true, and you really have to believe in it and be willing to sacrifice a lot for it. Is it worth it? To me, it is, but you have to answer that question on your own, remember.

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Comments

  1. Ideas are vastly important. If there were no ideas nothing would exist!

    The development of anything lies in the original idea plus ACTION!

    By the way…love the rotary fridge idea. Something like that does exist already as vending machines. I would love to have one for my own house though.

  2. Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion
    Twitter: thesaleslion
    says:

    Interesting subject Gabriele. I find many of the online folks I frequent with are dang full of ideas. Heck, I’m one of them. But like you said, an idea that’s just that, isn’t much of anything. There needs to be more, especially in this day and age. Goes back to the principal of how there is almost too much information available for folks these days, leading to a paralysis by analysis of sorts. Good thoughts Gabriele and good luck to your friend. ;-)
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..The Technology Age Myth- Why Being Old is No Excuse Not to Embrace Internet Marketing

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      You’re right, there really is an information overload going on, and it’s hard to discern the valuable information from the “white noise”. I am glad you liked the post, thanks Marcus.

  3. Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing
    Twitter: DennisEdell
    says:

    I have several per day, I rarely tell anyone, just in case. lol

    You’re absolutely right though, without a solid plan to back it up, it’s all just conversation as they say.
    Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing recently posted..Guest Bloggers- Is YOUR Blog Content Good Enough

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      Well it’s good practice to keep track of them, on something like Evernote or on a real notebook, as you wish. I’d do it, actually, I do it myself, you never know right?

  4. Alex@Jocuri says:

    Ideas, like you said, are the building block of human kind. We started with the idea that we should try to build a fire, grow crops, raise domestic animals and so on.
    Of course I am pretty sure this weren’t ideas that describe exactly what we do today, but without those ideas there wouldn’t be fire today, we wouldn’t grow crops and so on, just like a chain reaction.

    Having an idea and trusting it, it’s a big step to completing that particular product of your imagination, maybe it wont be perfect at the beginning, but not to worry, every good idea will be developed to perfection.
    Alex@Jocuri recently posted..Curse mini kart 3D

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      That’s the problem, many people simply have ideas and think to get rich on them. It’s a work of acting on them, developing them to something real. Something not everybody is up to nowadays.

  5. Mitch says:

    That’s an interesting way of looking at this, Gabriele. One of those things that happens to me is I see something and say “Hey, I had that idea years ago.” That happens a lot, and I want to kick myself for not taking a shot at it. But in the end I realize that it was an idea that I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to take any further than just having an idea, and as you said, unless you know what to do with it, an idea means little.
    Mitch recently posted..Sunday Question – Do You Believe Words Can Hurt

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      You bring up an *awesome* point, that happens to me as well, thinking “wow I could’ve done that, I had the same idea” but then I think it’s pretty pathetic to think like that, and big kudos to who had the preparation/time/guts to NOT be like me and sit my ass off instead.
      It’s like when you see tv quiz shows and you know all the answers, but then again, you’re not on tv racing for millions are you.

  6. Ideas are useless unless they compel action.

    They dont have to compel *you*, mind you….they can compel your friends or colleagues.

    But they have to cause *some* sort of action, else they just languish in the pits of apathy.
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach recently posted..What Huge Naked Ripped Biceps Can Teach You About Powerful Blogging

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      One of the basics of entrepreneurship is not to follow JUST your tastes, something that stimulates your interest isn’t guaranteed to interest potential customers, being an entrepreneur you are kinda particular on your own after all.
      As I once read, a general rule is to find at least 10 people who would actually buy your idea, outside your normal family/friends circle. If you can find at least 10, more are usually bound to follow (providing the product/service is actually good and not a scam, of course).

  7. Tristan@Blogging Tips
    Twitter: tristanhigbee
    says:

    I loved this post, Gabriele (and retweeted, stumbled, and dugg it just for good measure and because you do that for all of my posts!). And I know I’ve said this before, but I’m always impressed at just how good your English is. It really is amazing; you write better than a lot of native English speakers!

    I think you nailed it with “The value of a simple abstract idea is very low.” So true. Everyone has great ideas. And everyone has probably already had your great ideas. Success doesn’t come from ideas; it comes from implementing those ideas. So true, man.

    Thanks for a great read! I’m off now to implement more of my great ideas :)
    Tristan@Blogging Tips recently posted..Bloggers- Are You Actually LEARNING Anything Useful

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      Haha thanks a lot Tristan, nice for you to say that really :)
      We all have to try harder and implementing those ideas which we at least see realistic, within our reach. This can lead to another problem about self-judging one’s capabilities, but hey, we can’t solve all problems at once can we? Life should always be an improvement path after all.

  8. John says:

    Gabriele – like how you broke it down and explained the difference between an idea and ideas that are more proto-projects. It is always important to create realistic ideas that have a chance to be realized in the physical world. If you have an idea and you know it’s doable you have to attack it with some ferocity and put in the work necessary to make it become your reality. Great advice in this post Gabriele, hopefully people get the message.
    John recently posted..Getting Rid Of Skin Moles

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      “Attack it with some ferocity”, this is gotta be my favorite line of the month. Love how you put it, it shows you definitely got passion in what you do, and you definitely got my message.

  9. Walter
    Twitter: lionslinger
    says:

    Everything is created twice, first in the mind, then in reality. It’s unfortunate though that some ends up in the first creation–like ideas. I believe we are all capable of making everything possible, so long as we take the inherent challenge. :-)

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      Taking the challenge is indeed something fewer and fewer people want to do. We all strive to have something certain in our life. Taking a challenge is probably at the other side of the spectrum. But can entrepreneurs really live without this challenge?

  10. That’s the hardest part of it all Gabriele – getting that idea to launch.

    Once you find your creative process, it almost becomes detrimental to your well being because you’re so flooded with new ideas that you wind up acting on ones which hit you a certain way that day – instead of following through with just one or two until they’re either a success or bust.

    There’s always additional considerations in there (like the example of the fridge) which may be out of your control. Yeah, it’s a great idea but how does it get started if one doesn’t have the expertise in each field? That’s where networking really comes into play and knowing when you don’t have the full control that you think you do.
    Murlu@Create an eBook recently posted..How to Create an eBook using Existing Content

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      You bring up a vital point. Being flooded with ideas. That’s the biggest danger! Being flooded is bad ’cause you never seem to grasp the successful one among the ocean of ideas you’re having. Doing so requires mad skills, but mostly experience. The more you play the game, the better you become.

  11. Everything we enjoy at present are the products of impossible ideas of the early generation. At those times they didn’t realize that what they are thinking might happen in hundreds years ago. Each of us have ideas yet it depends on you if you would take action and work for that idea to create a product or outcome.

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      However everything we enjoy right now didn’t come from the impossible ideas of past generations, but from applied ideas from certain individuals that actually took the challenge to translate them into something more than just a thought. That’s the hard step, and why it often takes a while.

  12. Latief says:

    Every idea is very important, try looking back a few years ago and see the new things discovered – new gadgets – technology, etc. Or take the Google example, who would’ve thinked that it can be built such an enormous and complex platform like Google – a site that will index every site in the world, it was just an idea – but with a lot of work, time and money invested (step by step) it became the today’s “most wanted”. I personally had a lot of ideas and much of the people thought they we’re stupid ideas, too simple ideas, too complex ideas – but when I took the chance, I did my very best and the (excellent) results came. Just follow your ideas, use your time and creativity smart. By the way, great article, cheers.
    Latief recently posted..Zubrin For Dogs Review

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      If you think about giants like Google, Facebook or Apple you’re often mistakenly thinking they appeared from an idea in a mostly ethereal way, but it’s never the case. Those ideas are backed up with sweat and blood, so to say. Ok maybe I am being a bit dramatic but you know what I mean ;)

  13. Inspiring post Gab!

    Wanna try that Fridge Idea but the problem is we ain’t got food on our fridge..jst jkng
    It’s very essential to trust your ideas, it’s one way of building self confidence even if it the ideas are not that great.

    “Dreams only comes true when you have the courage to pursue it.”

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      Realizing your ideas, good or not, is a good exercise anyway. You really want to be “in shape” when the huge idea comes knowing at your mind’s door.

  14. Very good blog Gabriele. All great things starts with a single idea. But ideas are useless if it will not going to happen. You must put into action whatever right ideas you have in mind- to make it worth.
    Cirurgia Plastica recently posted..Rinoplastia – esclarecimentos

  15. Yes, very true Gabriele ideas are indeed stepping stones to success. Anyway, I remember Napoleon Hill from your article which he says, “Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.” When Ideas start then it will end in great innovation. I’ll keep in mind those things you shared. Thanks!

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple
      says:

      Innovation is fueled by ideas, but not every idea has the potential to be truly innovative. It takes time and experience in order to conceive potentially successful ideas, and a lot of hard-work to convert them into something tangible.

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