I just read a post at Innovate on Purpose that points out the fact that everyone talks about the act of creating innovation but not the act of reducing the invention to practice:
Far too often we get caught up in the "Creative" piece of the process - generating ideas, but then the logistics or executional portion fails to create excitement or process flow around the idea.
In other words, we talk a lot about how to generate ideas but not about the longer and more difficult process of implementing those ideas.
This reminds me of something that I learned from Rodney Perkins, one of the great innovators in Silicon Valley. I’ll probably post more in the future on other wisdom that I learned while working with him, but for now I’ll just talk about one piece of advice of his that relates to this topic. This is advice that he’s not only told me but that he’s lectured on at Stanford and other entrepreneur forums.
One of Rodney’s primary points of advice on how to create a successful startup—actually on innovation in general—is that success doesn’t come from new ideas, it comes from implementing those ideas. Rodney likes to point out that everyone has seen a new product or feature and exclaimed, “Hey, I thought of that!” In fact, not only you did but probably hundreds of others did as well. The difference between you, the others with the same idea, and the person that created the product is that the latter made it happen. He didn’t just have an idea and stop there; he had the idea and pursued it to productization.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. What differentiates successes from might-have-beens is whether they make it happen, whether they took the idea and made something from it. If you spend the time, you can probably come up with several great ideas a day, but those ideas are meaningless unless you take action to bring those ideas to fruition. Everyone has ideas saying, “Woudn’t it be great if…” or “Why doesn’t someone do…” Entrepreneurs are often successful not because they were unique in having the great idea but because they were unique in taking action on the great idea.
Make It Happen is Rodney Perkins’ motto—he gives a plaque saying this to every employee of his startups. I never realized the power of that statement until I took it to heart and started making it happen myself. I’ve also become sensitive to situations where people complain about things or have great ideas for improvements but they don’t take any initiative to make it happen when they have the power to do so—they just make their statement, sit back and do nothing.
Make it happen.