A World of Great Ideas

How Come We Don’t Do Anything With All Those Ideas?

So what stops people from bringing industry-changing ideas to market? After seeing this “I’ve-got-a-big-idea-that-I-am-really-not-going-to-do-anything-with” trend for many years, I believe people freeze because they secretly fear failure. Perhaps they believe there is more to innovation success than simply coming up with the big idea. Newsflash: They’re correct.

So in an effort to better humanity, I offer you the simple formula that will consistently and systematically help you lead more industry-changing ideas to market. (Imagine the friends and fame you are about to attain. I’d uncork some champagne immediately.)


There are three ingredients to successful innovation:

First, there must be a need or an insight. What problem does this idea solve? Is the problem important enough and big enough to elicit action and result in the required amount of cash flow? Have you identified the precise needs you’re fulfilling? Often a new product or service can fill many needs. You want to focus on the precise (biggest, most pressing) one.

Next (not first), you need the idea. What product, service or business model fixes the problem in an efficient, novel and proprietary way? You’re likely not the first person to notice this challenge. How have existing ideas failed to hit the mark?

Finally, once you have the insight and idea, it is time to create the communication that connects the insight with your idea.


So to change the world, you need to create the synchronized intersection—the tiny shaded area within the three circles below—of the need (insight), the idea (product, service or business model) and the communication that connects the two.

This simple formula is easy to describe, but perilously difficult to achieve. Turns out that ideas are easy, insights are easy and communication is easy. Getting them all to work in unison? For most, really, really hard .?.?. this is why most new products fail.

To use another metaphor, think of the circle diagram as a three-legged stool. Without one leg, the stool falls, and so, too, will your innovation initiative. You may have a great team of brilliant idea people/Monkeys, but unless you can get them to understand this simple concept, they will fail. Your job as the Lord of the Innovation Jungle is to make them understand. Now, thump your Tarzan chest because you just learned something really important.

This article was published first on May 6, 2011, at Free The Idea Monkey online.

About the authors

G. Michael Maddock
CEO, Founding Partner, Maddock Douglas, Inc.

Mike Maddock is an entrepreneur, an inventor, a writer and a keynote speaker. G. Michael Maddock is the founding partner and CEO of Maddock Douglas, the leading Innovation Agency, which has helped more than 25 percent of the Fortune 100® invent, brand and launch new products, services and business models successfully. A serial entrepreneur, Mike has launched three successful businesses and cochairs the Gathering of Titans Entrepreneurial Conclave at MIT. Learn more here.

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