Opinion

Stop Searching For That “One Million Dollars” Idea!

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

Steve Jobs

Indonesians are very happy when they get a bright idea.  They will keep the idea a secret, trying to keep anyone else from stealing that brilliant idea. Seriously, this is a completely wrong step!

The idea is cheap. Whatever genius ideas that have crossed our minds must have also been thought of by others. For example, I myself had an idea while in junior high school to establish busway lanes as one of the solutions to Jakarta’s congestion.

But my idea is just an idea. I’m not a person who regulates the capital. Thankfully, it turns out that there is a capital city government that had thought the same thoughts. There are special lanes for traffic-free public vehicles now, thus creating less-congestible traffic.

This (which I thought was brilliant) idea turned out to not be 100% successful in practice. There are still many things that must be addressed to overcome Jakarta’s congestion. TransJakarta is too full, the busway is often passed by private vehicles, and not to mention the typical Jakarta people who always want to buy vehicles for themselves, adding to the already busy roads of Jakarta.

Okay, back to the issue of ideas. I don’t know why, but Indonesians are really stingy about ideas.  They would rather be called stingy than to share their ideas in the fears of people have more successful lives compared to themselves.

Unfortunately, that’s a very naive thought. Already many great people have concluded that idea is not everything. Harry S. Truman said, “There is nothing new in the world, except the history you don’t know!”. Or Robert Plant who revealed the same thing, “There’s nothing new under the sun–you just get a can of paint out!”

Recently, I listened to BizTalk with Indra Utoyo who was the Director of Innovation & Strategic Portfolio at Telkom Indonesia. He traveled to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA to find the right way to handle ideas. He said many startups in SV are developing because they all throw ideas at each other. They are not afraid at all the idea is known to others.

Why? Well, when an idea is heard by someone else, it is usually followed by feedback.  You might think an idea isn’t really good, or even impossible to realize with the capabilities you have. But once we share ideas, chances are that we actually get an additional idea or a bright path to realize the idea!

Searching an idea | Suleman Mukhtar on Pexels.com

This is what makes a startup in SV can grow rapidly.  In this idea sharing forum, even each startup can help each other to crystallize ideas. And then, some startups can execute that idea produced in the brainstorming session–of course with more resources and capabilities. What does it yield?  An optimally executed idea.

After all, execution is far more important than the idea itself. Even a spectacular idea doesn’t mean anything if it’s not executed.  As Steve Jobs’s said: “To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.” There is also another quote from an American mystery novelist, Sue Grafton, which sounds like this, “Ideas are easy.  It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”

Sometimes, just a simple idea can turn into something great. As long as the execution is correct, the simple idea will evolve over time.

So, it’s very sad if we feel it’s enough to have a brilliant idea. Remember, a brilliant idea that goes around in your brain might have been thought of by other people too.

Who knows, one of the many people we have ever told about our ideas might be the right one to tell it to. This does not mean we just share it, of course, we must start moving towards the execution. But we can only be successful if we are open to the insight of others.

Got an idea you thought was brilliant? Share it to the right people! Execute and collaborate together!

The article has been translated & edited by Andi M. Al Fayed . This original article was here.