How Good Ideas Become Great Ideas

by Chip Griffin on November 11, 2011

Ideas are a dime a dozen. I know because I have paper and electronic file folders filled with ideas that I have come up with over the years for potential new products, services, and companies.

Good ideas aren’t much more valuable. While some of the ideas on my lists seem clearly doomed, most seem to show a glimmer of light.

What Are Great Ideas?

All Great Ideas Were Once Good Ideas. Great ideas are not born that way. They are good ideas that have grown up. 

Great Ideas Are Good Ideas That Get Attempted. There are some great ideas on my idea lists. But since I never tried to implement them, they never became great for me. But as I reflect back on the list, there are plenty of ideas that I have had that others have come up with on their own and implemented quite successfully.

Great Ideas Usually Aren’t That Unique. Most often an entrepreneur’s great idea was thought of by many other people. It’s what gets done with the idea that matters. As I walked the halls of the Defrag 2011 conference this week, I heard lots of conversations among bright people about  interesting ideas. I have heard those same conversations at other conferences in the past. Some of the ideas turn out to be pretty good, but often they end up getting implemented by others before they became great.

Great Ideas are Good Ideas Well-Executed. The secret to success is in the execution. A good idea well-executed beats an excellent idea never-executed (or executed poorly). We don’t remember the good ideas that failed because we rarely hear about them. We do remember the good ideas that became great through successs.

How Can You Make Your Own Idea Great?

Just do it. If you never try it, you’ll never know if it was truly great.

Be persistent. Some of the greatest ideas in history were failures at first. Refine the ideas to achieve greatness.

Blend  your ideas. If you’re old enough you will remember the phrase “You put peanut butter in my chocolate.” Do that with your own ideas. The combination of two good ideas often leads to one great idea.

Don’t try too many ideas at once. Lots of your ideas are probably great. But if you do them all at once, execution will suffer and they’ll all be stuck at good not great.

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