Ideas Are Cheap

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In a recent post I was wondering how MANY ideas are enough to present to clients … and then this article over at Chuck Frey’s Innovation Weblog got me thinking further.

The reason that it is easy to throw so many ideas at a client is because they are CHEAP to produce. Even good ideas are a dime a dozen! Many marketers and creatives can generate hundreds of ideas in a single brainstorming session … some may later be discarded, or modified, or otherwise transformed — but the problem is not the NUMBER of ideas. The problem is not even the QUALITY of the ideas. The problem is in their COMPLIANCE — how easy are the ideas to implement or execute?

In a busy world, the Compliant Idea is going to win. It will win with your boss and will probably win with your clients … it will probably also win with your audience. The Compliant Idea will have a wrap-around story, it will have an infectious nature and it will be easily transportable. Most importantly, it will allow your audience to pick it up and run with it.

Of course, even the most compliant of ideas are going to provide challenges when it comes to implementation, which is where all good ideas are tested (as are way too many bad ones). But you will see and hear a Compliant Idea from miles away … they sound like steam trains. They give my friend Katie goosebumps.

If ideas are cheap (and they are), keep brainstorming until you find one that gives you goosebumps. Keep going until you hear the whistle blowing, then climb aboard for the ride.


Update: Also see the category on Compliant Ideas.

With thanks to Mike Wagner for the link to Diego Rodriguez’s Metacool.

Title courtesy of Spell with Flickr.


3 thoughts on “Ideas Are Cheap

  1. Servant – spot on! “keep brainstorming until you find one that gives you goosebumps.” Great advice.
    Have you read Roger von Oech’s books: A Whack on the Side of the Head, or A Kick in the Seat of the Pants? Both very helpful and one’s that I recommend in my creative branding workshops.
    Diego Rodriguez is very metacool! Glad to have pointed you his way.

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  3. The process of thinking about a compliant idea is often difficult. People tend to derive ideas by thinking first about what’s on hand, like the technology available, the resources on hand, etc – to see if the idea is going to be viable or not. On the contrary, the process actually has to begin thinking about the beneficiary of the idea. Worry about the viability later on.

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