One operating assumption that strikes me about the knowledge economy is that the “idea” is king. Whether we operate in startup ventures or enterprise organizations we guard our ideas in the same manner that a country guards it’s gold. We build a Fort Knox like infrastructure to protect against theft yet we forget that great minds tend to come up with similar ideas. I read somewhere that if we examine past inventions we discover that at any given time there were multiple individuals who came up with the same idea. At first this seems odd, however if we consider that people had the same access to similar to similar technologies and information this should not be surprising.
Today’s information highway makes it even harder for individuals and organizations to come up with that “original idea” so we find ourselves competing on incremental inventions.
Even great ideas are easily duplicated and reverse engineered. So organizations go to great lengths to patent ideas to delay the inevitable.
When Google announced its purchase of Motorola Mobility one analyst mentioned on a news program that they wanted access to the patent vault, but not to come up with more ideas as much as it was to have the opportunity to protect existing ones, even use them as litigation threats toward others.
What’s missing in this thinking is the importance of executions. What makes companies such as Apple and others great successes is not the ideas alone but the full range of marketing and delivery systems that advance the ideas and bring them to market. This is why speed is so critical, otherwise organizations would sit on a idea forever.
That’s the value add that the discipline of project management brings to the market.