Seth Godin captures the tension between innovation and potential:
99% of the time, in my experience, the hard part about creativity isn't coming up with something no one has ever thought of before. The hard part is actually executing the thing you've thought of.
The devil doesn't need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.
A new idea no one has thought of before - full of hopes, dreams, urges, choices and assumptions. Aye, there's the rub - assumptions. Assumptions are the huge rocks that lurk on the shoulders of a new idea. Something that no one has thought of before simply carries with it too darn many assumptions. And, therefore, there are not enough facts for investors, management or customers to simply believe. Without money, backing or customers, execution is pretty tough.
So,I would add, the brave need plans to test their assumptions to give themselves their courage. The brave must then go after their most dangerous assumptions first. Then, the brave, upon proving their most critical assumptions were indeed true, possess the facts to share their confidence with the non-believers. Along the way, the brave only asks the supporter to risk as much as their facts warrant. When it is clear that the idea is real and the plan to execute is well-crafted, it's all-in!
I think new ideas get acceptance when the risk terrain is reasonably well-understood and when the people guiding the execution machine have shown the necessary discipline to earn their supporters' trust. Critics can serve a valuable role if their criticism can be viewed as another set of assumptions to consider in the execution plan -and so long as they agree that when it is time to go forward, they will hold their criticism and let folks work the plan.
What do you think:
- Can creative and innovative people also exhibit disciplined, adaptive execution?
- Is Apple brave to launch the iPhone, or is this a sure bet? What are the most critical assumptions that remain to be proven?