It's Time to Let your Idea Mature & Achieve Greatness

You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen.
And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product.
— Steve Jobs

We all do it. We are faced with a challenge and we come up with an idea to solve that challenge and from the moment the idea is born we fall in love with it…just like a baby or a puppy.  We all think our idea is perfect, beautiful, and is THE idea, the one that will solve the challenge and make the world a better place. I'm personally guilty of this.


But, like Jobs said that is wrong...the beauty and the greatness of an idea is revealed in the craftsmanship that goes into making that newborn idea a reality. This week I worked beside a lot of really smart people developing ideas to help make their business better and the lives of their customers easier.  For 1 day we created ideas - ugly little newborn ideas as we like to call them. Then we took those ideas and immediately presented them to potential customers - yes, we took brand new ugly little newborn ideas and showed them to potential customers.  

WHY? To make them better, to improve them and take them to the next level. Like a fine wine an idea will mature and come into its greatness with age. That might not be the best analogy because unlike wine you can't just let an idea sit and just think about it - you have to work on it and with it. After that first night we took those ugly little newborn ideas and we re-wrote them and re-worked them using the customer feedback as stimulus not to decide if it was a yes or a no, but to perform part of the craftsmanship that goes into reaching a great product. But, just that one cycle should not be the end of the journey.

Over the next few days and weeks I hope that they continue to refine and develop those newborn ideas growing them into beautiful and mature products...but, it isn't just about customer feedback it is about the back and forth between colleagues and departments that goes on. Continuous cycles of learning. Learning what capabilities need to be in place and overcoming obstacles or as we call them death threats to bringing to market the greatest product possible. Each cycle of learning should bring that ugly little newborn idea closer to greatness.