The profound moment that happens when you get THE idea.
The light bulb moment when you believe you have discovered the next big thing.
But why is it that there are many who have gone to the grave with their ideas?
, and many more who are living with brilliant ideas and doing nothing with them?
You are afraid of sharing your ideas because you believe that you will be laughed at, or that someone will steal the idea.
Definitely, some will laugh at you and some will try to steal it
I remember when I was doing my internship I kept a journal where I wrote down ideas.
One day a superior came across the open journal and read it (Lesson: some things should not be left in the open). When I returned to the office I found him seated at my desk, he started ridiculing my ideas and telling me I was being an idiot (his words, I had a knack for attracting negativity!) Also, I remember attending a workshop and one of the facilitators gave us an assignment to brainstorm ideas that could be used to promote the country. She thought she would get viable business ideas from the group and use them for her benefit.
Therefore, I understand why people are reluctant to share ideas.
Being mocked or manipulated are not cool.
This has threatened the creation of a vibrant creative economy.
Instead of being afraid of sharing ideas we should consider that success is determined by how you execute the idea and how you differentiate yourself. The only reason we as human beings manage to control the world’s resources and assert ourselves as the greater mammals is because we are the only animals that can cooperate in large numbers and cooperate flexibly. That is our USP. In most cases, ideas are worthless until you can demonstrate their value, establish a unique selling point and execute well.
Demonstrating the value of your idea lies in being able to reference a target market or multiple target markets that can benefit from your proposition. Value is not found in the dreaminess of the idea but in the product and service that will be a consequence of the idea, and the impact it will have. Establishing a unique selling point requires proof that you will be doing things significantly differently to how they have been done before. Execution is about having a strategy to implement the idea so that it has the desired outcomes.
I have met my fair share of vultures in the creative sector but even if they steal an idea they still have to have an implementation strategy that will work because most ideas that are shared are dreamy and vague. In order to create value you need to have a strategy that will be the roadmap and provide goal posts to measure the progress made. You have to implement; if you fall get up and learn from the failure, tweak the idea and move ahead quickly.
When people share their ideas there is an opportunity for collaboration. Collaboration leads to the formation of an ecosystem that will sustain creative enterprises. However cognitive biases and fears have to be jettisoned in order to experience the value of collaboration. Especially in Africa where support for the creative industry is weak or non-existent and where it is seen as a luxury even though it does create jobs and generate revenue and if leveraged correctly could contribute more. Without such support it is the role of creatives to come together and create pressure that will make policy makers shift their mindsets.
Collaboration also connects you with mentors and or coaches. These are people with experience in your relevant field and can assist you to grow. Sometimes the person behind the idea needs to adjust their way of thinking or the way they do things. In other cases ideas might need to be tweaked. In both cases, having an outside perspective helps to provide balance and perspective. It might provide the necessary paradigm shifts in order to see the larger picture.
Skills sharing is critical to close the gaps that exist within our economy. It is also vital to recognise that even when you are a jack of all trades and multi-talented, you will probably lack the time to develop all your ideas and make them all successful.
In almost all cases, you will need to share the idea with a team that will implement the idea, and share the vision so that they can become invested in it. At the end of the day there is no escaping the fact that you will have to share your idea. The only two ways to protect your precious ideas are to a) implement them better than anyone else can or b) go to the grave buried with them. Option B might be preferable to some, but seems like a big waste.
We also need to be more honest with ourselves. There are seven billion people in the world and the possibility that your idea will be entirely unique is minimal. Facebook didn’t start social networking; before Facebook there was Friendster, Hi5 and MySpace. Therefore it was not the idea of social networking that made them win but the timing and implementation that meant that Facebook’s social networking approach worked whilst its competitors tanked. It was the same idea but the outcomes were different.
We live in a culture that sees failure as the end of ideas and not an opportunity to learn why the idea failed. People need to be encouraged to try their ideas and to fail if need be. In order to create such an environment, isolation and fear need to give way to collaboration and sharing. When you share with the right people they will help you get to where you want to be.