Ideas are almost worthless. Good ideas might be worth something, but without taking proper actions from ideas, they are not worth anything. Ideas are like seeds, they don't cost much and those are quite easy to find from anywhere. Seeds don't start to grow without planting those to the right grounds and starting to take care of those. That's the same with ideas, if you just keep those in your drawer, nothings going to happen to those ideas.
Once in a while someone comes to me and says, I have a great business idea. What if we would do this and that, wouldn't it be amazing. I admit that I've done the same. I have a pile of business ideas in my virtual drawer (in Google Docs) where I type out those ideas for storage when those come to my mind. For a long time, I thought those are important and kind of like a treasure for me. Just recently I've figured out that those are not worth anything. Really, those are not worth anything. Those are just ideas, which might lead to somewhere with good execution, but ideas as such don't have any value to anyone. It's the same with this post. This post as an idea in my mind, didn't have any value to anyone. I discussed about this subject with my colleagues few days back and then there came some value to the ideas and now this actually materializes to it's current value with my execution to this blog.
A week ago I read an excellent post from Derek Sivers about value of ideas (here's the post). The idea in his post is that execution is tens of thousands or million time's more valuable than just the idea. That's what I'm trying to say in this post also, ideas are really not worth much or if anything without execution. Execution is the thing that makes ideas fly, not the ideas itself.
Reason I and many else have been careful about sharing ideas that we've thought that they do have a value and that someone might steal those ideas. Sure someone might steal your idea if you share with others, but most often you need to really have marvelous idea for anyone to even listen your ideas. And like I've said many times, execution and the vision is the thing that matters, not the idea itself. If you are sure about your idea being really good, don't worry about someone stealing it, go ahead and execute better than others. There's always going to be competition, maybe it's better to face it early.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever protect your ideas. In some cases it might be wise to keep your ideas with small group or only share parts of your idea to others. The main point still is, that you should think when the ideas really start to get value. Is partly done done, or not done at all. Some could argue that there isn't any value created on any doing before it's really out there with real users.
For organizations this might be different. Some bigger companies do get extra value of not publishing ideas before execution, in order to get more publicity from the launch of a product or a service. For smaller companies it might be quite the opposite, they could actually gain publicity or funding for their product or a service for opening up ideas really early to public. They can get fast feedback and tips for the execution for opening up the ideas sooner than later. And at the end, what will make a difference is the execution.
If you have a brilliant idea, maybe the best thing you could do would be to spread the idea to everyone willing to listen as much as you can. Best thing that could happen to you might be, that someone else things that the idea is great. And that might even lead to the next step of execution of the idea. With keeping the idea to yourself, most probably the idea will just die itself to old age.
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen