Wednesday 26th July
Then it probably isn’t…..
Sorry to disappoint you, but that almost certainly is the reality. In my working life, I have discovered that this is really the best mantra. How many times have both I and others thought we had a great idea; a new way of doing something. But when it is tried out we realise the pitfalls, the obvious reason why it wasn’t such a great idea in the first place. And the most blinding obvious is that if were that simple, then almost certainly someone would have thought of it before us. The best way forward is to build on established methods and maybe, just maybe, some small improvements may be stumbled upon. For aficionados of Dragon’s Den like me it is amazing that so many ‘great ideas’ either don’t solve a problem, or fill a gap in the market which doesn’t actually exist, or are exactly what others, often unknown to the budding entrepreneurs, are already doing. It is really quite rare for someone to come up with a really great new idea.
And this shouldn’t surprise us. There are over 7 billion humans on the planet, plus all those who went before. Is it any wonder that very few of us will have a truly original idea – something that no-one has ever thought of before? Even in writing, I may think that my ideas are original but the betting is that someone has written a book, or a story or an article quite similar at some point. Okay, so not exactly the same – but plot-lines and characters are actually quite limited – it is only the style of the story-telling which really varies.
But please, do not let that stop you thinking. You never know, you may be the one who comes up with that great idea. But, chances are that someone had that idea before you, tried it and it didn’t work. Maybe with modification your idea will work. And almost all inventions are just that, modifications on an existing idea, small improvements – and actually, even small improvements can be great. But as to inventing the wheel, or a new form of energy, or even a new design of bottle-opener that has never been tried before – sorry to disappoint you but your great idea probably isn’t.