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August 17, 2010 / Mike Biggs

Which is more valuable: Ideas or the Implementation?

I have a strong point of view here, which I maintain, however a friend of mine has the opposing position which caused me to question and evaluate precicely why it is that I beleive that IDEAS are more valuable than the implementation of them.

There are some conceptual assumptions which need to be addressed. The question could mean two slightly different things.

Since I have structured the question, I assume it means what I mean it to mean, which is: When an idea is developed and implemented, which component is the most valuable?

However, that asssumes the idea is actually implemented at some stage. If the idea is never implemented, the idea is rendered value-less and therefore from this perspective the implementation is where all the value lies.

Back to my view, which is: the Idea is the more valuable. Now I shal cover the reasons why this is the case.Business Technology harnessing human labour

  1. Technology is now a cheap commodity like electricity. Technology options are expanding exponentially every day. With more options, capabilities, interconnectedness, and speed, almost anything concieved can be implemented. Technology prices too are falling faster and faster making it ever easier to implement. Web based technology is the prime example of this. Servers, hosting, email, websites and many many more complex services can easily be purchased and configured by nothing more than click and drag. If you are interested in this subject, take a look at this book: The Big Switch- Edison to Google.
  2. Labour is in abundance.There is an abundance of labour to complement the vast technologies that are available. And, like techology, the relative costs are low especially if aided by technology in harnessing the human labour.  At a global level this is particularly evident with the emerging labour markets in China and India fueling the West cheaply and skillfully. They can achieve this due to the disparity between the developed vs developing societies relative costs of living and fulfilment. The availability of labour is enhanced dramatically by technology, which is a further boon for technology by the way. Sites like Elance, there are many more, use technology to provide cheap but very highly skilled labour to markets that need or want it.
  3. Arbitrary implementation by definition is useless. Functional exectution is useless on its own, without an idea to direct and engage the practical components there will be no meaningful outcome. The same can be said for an idea which is never implemented with one small difference; an idea may be sold, usually for more than the implementation cost. Hence, the idea has both more value, and is transferrable.

Is there anything I have missed? Let me know your opinions so we can keep the debate going.



Leave a Comment
  1. Anthony / Aug 26 2010 2:04 pm

    I totally agree with your viewpoint. The idea is EVERYTHING.

    You only have to visit some of the design competition sites out there (read: designers who enjoy working on the speculation that someday they will be paid) to notice that out of the hundreds of thousands of examples of design work on the website there are very few true pieces of design that adhere to both the principles of good design and target a unique idea.

    The rest are simply badly stamped out pieces of work, like an automated factory running on schematics that have an obvious defect in them. The machines don’t “know” that their design is flawed, because they don’t understand the principles and idea upon which it was constructed.

  2. mrnorman85 / Sep 4 2010 1:59 am

    Implementation clearly. I used to like idea over implementation, but ideas come and go, especially when there are as many people as there are on earth today. If you don’t act fast someone is bound to put out a similar and possibly more effective/efficient product, than the one you were devising.

    The main thing about ideas are they sound good and are perfect & pure in thought, however if they’re not implemented, they won’t flourish beyond the abstract cavities of the mind’s imagination. Then, once yo begin to implement, you’ll quickly understand that the 1st draft/rendering will be far from the finished product.

    Now a marketing idea or a patent is a quick sell, but any real entrepreneur will bank off the idea at least 10 fold, because there’s no way anyone will buy an idea, especially if untested unless they’re looking to throw money away.

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