We all know that everything we see, touch, feel experience etc. started off as an idea in the psyche of a fellow human. Ideas change the world both for the better and sometimes for the worst. What would the world be without the internet, cell phones, books, music, cars, organisations, aeroplanes, etc. and of course money, that underpins everything. Yes sure, there are generations which existed before some of these, but the point I am trying to make is most of these inventions have somewhat improved the journey of humanity on this earth.
In my silliness, I sometimes smirk at my sister that, I am so grateful for the person who thought of the idea of an indoor toilet…hahaha. In our generation there is an obsession of conceiving and birthing ideas. I think that when we think ideas, we often have the underlying objective of wanting to bring about ideas that solve issues, ideas that change the way things are done and also ultimately ideas that bring new things.
And we can all agree that we love the accolades of being called an “ideas person”, but here is a thought I have been grappling with… is it really that important or even necessary to implement the idea/s I came up with?
One of the questions I really dread being asked when I sit in interviews is, ‘So tell me, what ideas/creative things have you thought of and have implemented in your current role?’
I dread this question for various reasons because in that moment I really struggle to remember some of the “big” and “amazing” ideas I have come up with and implemented. But what makes the thinking process more wrestling is I’ve never truly executed an idea all by myself, especially in the work context. Ideas are usually executed as a collective effort. I have thought of a lot of ideas but those were never implemented and what the interviewer cares about at the end of the day is how that idea improved the organisation.
There is a bit of a double edge effect in corporate around this. On the one end, there is an obsession with hiring people who seem to say all the right things and are overly confident. And I actually think this can sometimes be dangerous because sometimes people can lie and over exaggerate what they have done.
On the other end, corporate is fundamentally established through an understanding that some people/teams will come up with ideas and some will implement them. This is a continuous cycle witnessed through a lot of projects that organisations undertake.
I know that this ideas discussion is a broad one and I don’t think I can do enough justice to it in this piece. There wouldn’t be things like protection of intellectually property if people didn’t take ideas seriously.
I guess the point I am trying to make in this piece is, sometimes it’s really okay for someone else to be the one to implement your great idea. We have to bear in mind that an idea is only celebrated once it’s actually something tangible that comes to life. However we obviously have to be wise when it comes to our ideas. Every context will guide you in terms of how to approach this. There are situations where you have to own your idea, even protect it until a point where you ready to execute on it. But there are also situations, which most of us will find ourselves in, where we have to work interdependently. In those instances, when you all have a shared objective about what you want to achieve then I really do think you shouldn’t be obsessed with being the one to come up with and implement the idea.
But what do you think, should we really want so much recognition for our ideas or should we care more that the idea is executed as opposed to laying claim of who its rightful owner is?