Ever wonder how today’s great geniuses like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs come up with the most brilliant ideas? Well, it’s because they know how to protect their ideas.
Jobs was able to create innovative, simple and elegant design, and Musk has mastered how to build futuristic innovations because they know when and how to refuse. Sometimes, relentless refusal to “improvements” that can ruin their vision made these geniuses do what they do best – revolutionizing.
The bigger the idea is, the more it is susceptible to dying. Thus, as a creative genius, you must know how to protect your brilliant ideas. There are three big threats that can ruin innovation, which we are revealing below:
The biggest idea threats
Reducing the essence of an idea
It happens to solid ideas: when seemingly innocent tweaks, water-down the very essence of the idea until nothing is left to taste. This threat can be the slow and sure death of an idea, due to the elimination of its unique features.
This unfortunate circumstance can be related to an expression in advertising: “getting pecked apart by ducks.” Apparently, another way to reject ideas is by ‘improving’ it. That endless series of small, minor tweaks done to a solid idea until it is reduced into a jelly.
The reduction of the essence of an idea happens when innovators get nervous, and decide to take the easier, and safer route. The tweaks added to an idea may be small, but they sure are deadly.
Elon Musk once mentioned the stigma that takes place in the innovative world of tech: “People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade, actually.”
Bulking the idea with unnecessary features
Less is more. When it comes to ideas, this, too is true. The best example is Apple’s exquisite, simple design. Compared to Microsoft, Apple didn’t overbuild their product with too many features that make the product overwhelmingly complex.
Jobs has explained his approach when it comes to product development: “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
Creating a ‘Frankenstein’
A Frankenstein idea can happen when two or more ideas merge, and most of the time, the result is not pretty. Trying to be everything can end in becoming nothing.
Therefore, in such cases, you must protect your ideas. These are the four steps done by Elon Musk and Steve Jobs that helped them protect theirs.
How you can protect your ideas
Save your ideas from the committee mentality
Too much input may not be a good thing when polishing ideas. When submitting your ideas to the decision-makers, you must examine the approval process first. Are there protocols, and politics that can kill your ideas? Is there a tendency for overthinking and red tape prior to the approval of ideas?
Steve Jobs has eluded this mistake when designing products. Regarding this, he left a famous saying, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Reject dumbing down of ideas
Big ideas are delicate; they are very much vulnerable to dumbing down. Thus, you must know how you can exactly protect your ideas, and sell it in your process. Find ways to get the support from your employees in favor of your agenda.
Do not go for good, pursue what’s great
If you haven’t noticed it yet, the greatest, innovative ideas came from wild, relentless, and sometimes irrational dedication of seeing the idea’s execution.
Don’t let your ideas get infected with mediocrity in an attempt to take the safe route. Playing it safe may kill the bigger opportunities ahead, by taking away the chance of an idea to latch and mature.
Pursue what can be great, and let go of the temptation to settle for good.
Forget the same old, same old
Repetitive strategies get jaded over time. Just like the time when Crayola organized a contest to name a color, which initially gathered two million entries in 1993. However, when they repeated the contest for a couple of times without changing anything, soon the number of participants went down to a thin 25,000 entries.
Avoid the same old, same old. Yes, it’s easy, and comfortable, but these old ways worn out and get dusty. If it worked one time, it doesn’t mean it will work again for the next couple of times.
5. Be ready to make mistakes
Mistakes are part of the innovation process. You can’t expect the sail to be smooth all throughout, especially when coming up with big ideas. The important part of the journey is to learn how to move on to make progress and improvements.
Jobs said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Musk adds, “There’s a silly notion that failure’s not an option at NASA. Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, then you’re not innovating enough.”
The bolder the idea is, the more it’s in danger of dying. To create and execute big and revolutionary ideas, you must get rid of fears, and the need to compromise to your principles. Such obstructions can make you lose your way to having the best businesses.