Then, there’s this quote from Seth Godin at the 99% Conference:
What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do for a living is ship.
Godin expands on that thought in this presentation as well – where he recommends “thrashing at the beginning” of a project so that you can deliver (“ship”) on time.
Again, the value is not in the idea, it’s in shipping something that’s come from the idea.
Finally, Rowan Simpson wrote a good post with questions that firms who want investment money from him should think through. He says:
The best thing you can do to stand out from the crowd is to point me at a product that I can use and, even better, that you are already selling. It doesn’t have to be polished or even finished, as long as you have planned for the work required to turn it into something that is ready to be used in anger.
Nothing impresses potential investors like scrappy execution. Most people don’t get that far.
This is part of why it’s hard to measure innovation. If ideas are something you have, then it’s easy. We can measure patents, or suggestions, or some other measure of our stock of ideas.
Measuring flow is harder – but idea flow is what determines innovation success. To measure innovation we need to track ideas that have been executed. And, even better, value created through this execution.
Ideas are something you do.