Balancing innovation and protection of ideas.

One of my favorite websites is Clients from Hell.  They run quotes from many freelance developers and designers who deal with smaller companies and clients (for the most part).  It is one of those great glimpses into the world we are all collectively part of.  The other day they ran one that hit home particularly closely.

“My website, and the list of my products, should be a top Google result. But I don’t want my competitors to be able to see it.”

We all come across the people that want us to innovate but are terrified that those innovations get “stolen” by our competitors.  Ideas have no mass or constraints so there is no “cost” to their “theft.”  Problem is, it’s not innovation if no one ever sees it or experiences it.

Ideas are special things.  They actually perform better in an open world with open feedback.  This is why market competition works so well – we are all chasing the best ideas and trying to make them better.  An idea that isn’t out in the marketplace is less than useful – it’s actually harmful because it makes that one idea seem special or sacred.

Never fear putting ideas in places where even competitors can see them – that’s called advertising.  Never fear that a competitor will steal it – that’s called competition.  Never fear that it will be your last, best idea – that’s not how ideas work.  Throw caution to the wind and see what works.

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One thought on “Balancing innovation and protection of ideas.

  1. […] Ideas are weird because they don’t necessarily have any physical representation. I love the pure energy that is generated from the excitement of new ideas. The worst thing that you can do to me is to throw cold water on an idea that is just starting to form. It’s the equivalent of throwing the emergency brake on a car in the midst of a quick acceleration. There is nothing better than watching that spark of idea fan into a full blown new product or improvement to something already in existence. […]

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