Ideas are cheap

I once told an animator that ideas are cheap. He was offended as he thought I said his ideas weren’t good. At the time, he was working with a difficult” group of designers who didn’t like input on anything from anyone who was not on their team. So maybe he was sensitive.

I was coaching him on the fact that anyone can create ideas easily. It’s the execution of the idea that is hard. Ever seen a product or service and though to yourself that was my idea”? We’ve all had a bunch of those.

Validating the idea and building it is the hard part. I went on to tell him that he needs to come up with the ideas, and then add notes to how valid they might be. Nothing formal, just a risk assessment” or pre-mortem.

Here’s the checklist I gave him:

  1. Make a list of ideas. The more the better.
  2. Think of as many ways as you can for why each idea might fail.
  3. Then for the ideas without fail states, make a note for how long the idea will take to implement.

This strategy seemed to have helped him. He was better able to work with that team. To a certain extent. But thier diffculty is another story, for another day.

By the way, The Dip is a good, brief book on evaluating the amount of work required to execute something, and ultimately if it’s worth it at all.

The DipThe Dip