Ideas vs Execution: Innovation from the heart

As a creative innovator, I have a problem. Every time I try and sell "ideas" this finds me:

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen
— Scott Belsky

You've heard that a million times. You might even believe it wholeheartedly, or have it on an inspirational quote on the wall behind your Mac Book. Execution is what differences the wannabes from the pros. Everybody has ideas!

It does make sense, doesn't it? I have always seen it's perfectly rational.


YET. I've been in meetings and workshops with big companies having ideas. I've helped people who are not everybody have ideas. And you know what?

Fantastic ideas are rare.

And this is assuming that we are talking about ideas that have been edited, and worked on, and developed. Still. There is loads of mediocre or downright terrible ideas out there. It's almost as if we are mistaking "thoughts" with "ideas".

Imagine my surprise when the other night I opened my Kinfolk mag (because I am a cliché of an artiste and I have such an exquisite sensibility and all that)... and found this.

People tend to say that good ideas are easy to have. I disagree. A really good idea is a very rare thing. I’d reverse the dictum and say that execution is the easy bit—anyone can do it—but unless what you’re executing is properly founded, you will fail.
— Alain de Botton

I kind of looked around to check where the hidden camera was. Alain de Botton is an absolute idol of mine. He is an excellent entrepreneur and an exciting intellectual (and you know I like it nerdy). I have watched his documentaries, read his books and lusted over The School of Life since he founded it. And here he was, in a fab magazine, saying out loud what everybody has always told me is wrong.

I'll even add that I disagree that execution is easy. Execution is a b*tch.

But a good idea is indeed a rare thing.

I suspect saying "Good ideas are very hard to come by. And execution, well, it's really hard, too" is not the most empowering quote, neither is it good marketing.

It's the equivalent of saying: "everybody, go home!". But it's the truth.

And yet, here's a glimmer of hope that I'd love to offer: you CAN have better ideas.

You know the whole "informed decisions", thing?

One could say ideas are forms of decisions. You can have "informed ideas". And I believe a missing piece of the puzzle is emotional information.

There's thinking (ideas). And there's making (execution). And we need both. Yet let's not forget about feeling. Humans are not rational, be it the idea havers, the idea executioners, or the idea buyers.

Good ideas tend to have an emotional logic behind. And make no mistake, one can make sense of emotions.

Ideate on a base of researched emotions. Carefully prune your ideas. Work hard to make them happen.

And you'll be making a difference.


I'd love to know what you think so send me an email or find me on twitter or on instagram. And if you want to dip your toes on this whole concept, there's this workshop coming soon:

tiny innovationMaria Gil