Ideas and Execution

The Value Of Ideas has to be one of the most thought provoking blog posts of the year for me. I am a huge fan of Scott Adams and his work; its ideas like this that gets the ball rolling in my head and next thing I know I am in Timbuktu.

Carrying on from the post I have been deliberating a lot about getting an artistic task done and its relevance to ideas. What I figured from most of the artistic fields that I have encountered is that in the creation of something involves basically two phases:
1. The Idea
2. The Execution

It doesn’t matter which field you are in: Engineering, Acting, Writing… hell even conversations are based on ideas and how they are put forward for everyone else to absorb, understand or view.

Scott goes on to say that an idea without execution is almost as good as no idea at all all. So how important is an idea and how important is the execution of that idea.

In my opinion how great a creation will be depends on both the idea and its execution, but if you are in search of something groundbreaking then you need a lethal combination of the two. Like for example you can have an idea that is so unique that no product currently in existence makes used of the idea, then all you need to do is a decent job of executing it. If the product is atleast useable it will still be a hit (coz there are not alternatives) over time you will need to improve it to match the competition that arose from your idea but you get the drift.

In another case lets take an idea that is tried and tested, here the burden of greatnenss falls on an idea over the idea or in execution. In the first case, lets say you want to make postit notes, well thats already been made but what if you have a concept of it that does not exist, how bout see thru postit notes? how bout edible postit notes? how bout postit notes that simply vaporise a day or two after they are used? All ideas are built on the original idea but it adds to the idea and changes slightly in execution.

In the other case, a great execution is all you need to make a simple idea awesome. This is very common in writing so I will use that as an example. Lets say you have a simple story about a person that is in a bad phase of their life, as luck would have it they are given a chance in a competition and during the story the character realizes and puts in the effort and achieves what they set out to do and are now a different person thanks to the experience. That story can be written like the Karate kid or Rocky. The difference was in the execution and subtle choices by the characters.

The Sixth Sense and The Others are good examples of simple concepts that were brilliantly executed. The writer in those cases simply looked at different ways of communicating an idea to the audience and then built a story around it. The narration and liberties taken all are a part of the execution. The final product speaks for itself.

Off late any task I have to do this is exactly what runs thru my mind, what is the idea and how do I execute it. The stronger the idea the lesser the pressure in executing it out of the box, a combination of the two is the best.

  • Another good example I like is movie remakes. I completely support remakes, as long as they are done well. If not, they will flop anyway :-)

  • Arjun

    Here is another interesting blog entry about the topic:

    http://paulbuchheit.blogspot.com/2008/03/ideas-vs-judgment-and-execution_9197.html

    This is Arjun from Vijaya. I am in working in Boston currently. Finished my Masters at Ohio State a couple of months back. What are you upto? I remember seeing some very interesting startup work.