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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Too many people are ideating, not enough are executing

Here is a pet peeve of mine that is strong enough to actually wake up this blog from hibernation.

I've been seeing this "ideating" word being tossed around as the new cool thing. Every event now seems to have an ideation workshop or innovation workshop. We've been doing innovation jams at for ages now. This weekend we had an IdeaCamp event here in Chennai.

These days even organizations like Nasscom and CII are jumping on the ideation bandwagon.

The premise is simple: get a bunch of people together, bounce ideas off the crowd and make it better.

As an entrepreneur, I find these sessions seriously turning off. I used to be excited about them, but not anymore.

Invariably no one brings up the hard questions: Whats the market for this idea? How will you price it? Are there any competitors? How much will it cost to build? How will you fund it?

And finally, when the event is over everyone forgets the idea and gets back to normal work.

Count up all the ideas from all the innovation jams, ideation sessions, BarCamps, IdeaCamps over the last four years... then count out how many have been executed on. My guess is zero.

The ideas are basically dead on arrival.

So why do we have so many ideation sessions?

Its fun. Its collaborative. And everyone likes to escape from the present and imagine the future. Execution is hard, and execution is definitely not-fun. Ideation is instantaneous, and best of all free! I feel sorry for execution - its hard, long, time consuming, and expensive :(

But lets face it: ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is what counts.

Everyone remembers Edison's quote: Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

So, how about we stop ideating and start executing?