Ideas = Multiplier of Execution

This original post by Derek Silver was from several years ago – but I stumbled upon it recently and thought, “Great Reminder!”:

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

Explanation:

AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20

NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two.

I think as designers we are naturally protective of our ideas – and probably tend to overestimate an idea’s value. Of course, ideas are valuable and sometimes they can be the difference between success and failure. However, to think that “idea is everything” is certainly very myopic. Eventually, what other see is the final embodiment, which are synthesized from a whole long process after the idea’s been generated – to develop it, to refine it, to test it, to rework it, to market it, to publicize it, to distribute it, etc.

Also, I think it is very important for designers to be able to ‘release’ the ideas – to discuss them, share them, get it out of the system somehow – unless you are working towards patents and such. This means ‘getting over the idea’ – in some ways, to no longer be convinced that the idea is the ultimate, unbeatable best-in-the-world thought that man can ever muster. The process of ‘releasing’ the ideas is also simultaneously releasing yourself from the idea, so that you are not overly tied down by that single idea, or become paralyzed as you bask in the glory of the idea. This way, it leaves much more mental space that (almost always) lead to even better concepts and developments, which might lead you to wonder ‘why did I shackle myself to that idea for so long?’

Design is indeed the business of creating ‘multipliers’.

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