Ideas are a dime dozen. Great Ideas even. But progress toward making that idea a reality- moving it toward actually solving a customer’s real-world problem- rarely happens.
More often than not you forget that Great Idea until someone else comes up with it, stops talking about it ,and does something with it. You say to yourself: “I had that exact same idea!” I know-I’ve done it a lot of times.
Unfortunately it’s probably too late to do something about it by then. Someone else has first-mover advantage, paying customers, a company foundation to support the on-going evolution and expansion of the Great Idea, and you’re left doing what you were doing before: not changing the world.
Brainstorming with your buddies, talking with your classmates, thinking deeply; all great ways to come up with a Great Idea. But you can’t stop there. You’ve got to take the next step and actually do something.
° see if there’s competition
° see how your idea stacks up against it
° talk to potential customers- e.g. “If my product does this, would you use it? Buy it?”
° start prototyping or getting someone else to prototype it for you
° get some advice about how to move it forward from there
But do something. Recognize that progress doesn’t happen if you stop with the first step (coming up with the idea) rather its an “idea-evaluation-execution” process. By quickly taking Great Ideas to the prototype stage after actively engaging in customer inquiry and assessment you can learn a TON about whether your idea will fly in the marketplace- or even if there is a marketplace.
Your ideas don’t have to be unique. Facebook was far from unique. So was Google. But they both did something better that the competition and won more customers. The key phrase in the previous sentence is: they both did something.
So do something. About your idea. Or it just doesn’t matter.
4 Steps the Epiphany by Steve Blank