June 13, 2008

Innovation starts with an idea.  But what good is an idea if nobody ever finds out about it.  That is the tough part.  You have to find a way to get the idea out.  And just telling people the idea is not going to cut it.  Why?  Because the ugly truth is that people don’t want to hear your idea.  To them, your idea is just noise because they are not in the mindset to accept it.

Seth Godin writes in his book “All Marketers are Liars” that you have to tell a story that is larger than the idea itself.  The story has to fit in with something that people already believe and are thinking about.  You have to create a brand for your idea.  An example of this is when starting a company, you create a brand name that people will buy into.  This is easier said than done.

The best modern day example is the difference between Yahoo! and Google.  In the beginning, Yahoo! had a clear vision.  They were a fresh young company that wanted things to be fast and easy.  Their website was to be a portal built off of a search engine so that they could sell their own agenda well helping you find what you need.  Originally, they were very focused and committed to a vision.  Then, as time wore on, they began to deliver conflicting messages.  The vision that was expressed early on was lost on mass marketing and a failure to continue to move forward in the technology sector.

Then Google came along.  In a way, they filled the void that was left in people who were less than thrilled with Yahoo! at that point.  They delivered a clear message.  Their services were easy to use, and their fresh, laid-back culture came across in all the new services they continued to offer.  People bought into the vision and they continued to grow with the company.  They keep things free and easy, and make it easier than ever to find all the information you need.

Google is a brand that their users can believe in, whereas Yahoo! didn’t stay committed to their vision.  Therefore, when Google creates something new, people are more likely to buy into it.  Thus turning ideas into action.  It spreads like wildfire.  Create something that people can believe in and they will listen to what you have to say, and that is when the real innovation can begin…