Idea is not enough for the success of a start-up



It is often assumed that creativity will lead to innovation automatically. In modern usage creativity is often used as synonym to innovation. However it is not the case. Simple brainstorming on ideas will not lead to innovation. What is needed is the implementation of ideas. Ideas do not implement themselves and you can’t build a business on an “air castle”.


There are many actions taken by governments as well as private organizations to ignite creativity and imagination among population. What we see lacking in the society is not creativity and ideation but innovation in the actual implementation of ideas. An idea can come to the minds of many of us but that will not bring the success. What will bring the success is innovative and efficient implementation of the idea.


The most idea-people have many creative ideas but lack the patience of implementation. They just want to suggest the idea and do not take the responsibility of realizing their idea. They often crib and complain about their ideas not being given attention by their organization (big MNCs as well as small start-ups). There are two aspects they usually ignore while complaining.


First, idea-people generally put forward many ideas to the management without following through their ideas to get them implemented. Most idea-people do not give sufficient thought on their ideas – no market research, how much cost to implement the idea, how much time it will take to achieve, and how implementing those ideas will help the company to generate revenue. These questions beg answers, irrespective of the brilliance of the idea. After all, business means making money, whatever be the goal of the company. In the business world, “No idea is worth any attention if it can’t make/save a single penny for a company”.


Second, they really do not understand how a start-up or even an established business organization must operate to get things done and turn the idea into a success. The idea people should understand that the management already has many troubles to handle and is not ready for a new trouble (half-baked idea). It is not that the management is afraid of new ideas. Rather, the management is often more focused to handle the day-to-day problems and keep the business going, rather than collecting ideas after ideas and increasing their to-do-lists. A stable and growing organization needs a certain level of conformity while creativity and innovative ideas are usually disruptive. The creative ideas bring change in the organization’s structure in small or big way. Implementation of creative ideas has to be done in an organized and systematic manner. Organization cannot work without organized workflow, process, explicit rules, implicit rules, etc. It has to carry its usual business activities while accommodating the small and big changes that new ideas bring.


Nevertheless, small one man shop or small sized start-ups are more creative and innovative than big companies. They have practically no established organizational structure. So, they can easily accommodate changes. This does not mean big companies are not innovative. They clearly understand that they will perish sooner or later without innovation. It is just that they have a different structure to bring innovations.


Traits of idea-people

– Most of them have never played implementer’s role. They usually talk a lot but cannot implement their own ideas. They like to advise in a manner similar to sports team managers, writers, professors, philosophers, board of directors, etc. Advisors play an important role as advisors but not as team members/co-founders of a start-up. There are numerous proofs about how a good board of directors and advisors can really transform a start-up from nothing to Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc. But, look for advice from them, not their sweat and blood.

– In general, they are chronically complaining people and they disrupt the harmony of corporate work culture. They can bring the enthusiasm of the team down at moments when enthusiasm matters the most. They are termed as “corporate malcontent” and for no small reason.

– Ironically, most idea-people do not realize that they are the melancholic-advisory-idea-people with the above mentioned traits.


Start-ups should avoid hiring idea-people as their core team.  Start-ups are not in a luxury to keep changing their focus from one idea to another idea. However, it is good to have team members who have traits of creativity as well as implementation.


Here are some tips for idea-people:

It is good to evaluate yourself and recognize if you are an idea-person. Idea-people can become useful for the company by understanding that management has to constantly deal with many problems. The “idea-person” should understand this fact and try to adapt with the situation of the company as it is. He/she should come with a detailed ground work before suggesting their ideas. It is not necessary to do the ground work for all the 20+ ideas he/she gets every day. But, do the ground work for the idea he/she finds most suitable for the growth and success of the company. In this manner, your potential as a creative person can be utilized by the company and you can have higher satisfaction of being listened to.

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