AFR Statement on COVID-19.

What Is The Value Of An Idea?

Posted: 5.07.15
Category: Special Events



When was the last time that you paid for an idea?

Have you ever picked up the phone, called a professional colleague and said, “ I need some ideas, can I pick your brain for a minute?”

The person on the other end of the phone agrees and you lay out your query and they respond with a) an idea, or b) ask if they can think about it and call you back.

Either way, in a perfect world (and that’s where we are living for the purpose of this topic) you get the idea or “inspiration” that you were searching for.

That scenario begs the question, “Is there value in an idea?”

You go to Urgent Care because you have a rash. Do you only pay the doctor for the diagnosis if you like it? No, you pay the doctor for the services rendered. Sometimes (and maybe even oftentimes) we don’t like what the doctor has to say but he is still compensated for his expertise.

Ideas are so arbitrary.

Are they?

Let’s think about them in a different way.

We currently live in such an intangible world. Digital communication, relationships, social media, entertainment, recreation, business, and even money, in the Bit-Coin, are all intangibles that we are already taking for granted. Cyber-everything is the norm. The frantic accessibility to any and all information worldwide has made the waters of thought equity pretty murky.

How can we give these intangibles some physicality? Let’s think about a brain full of ideas as a 100,000 square foot warehouse filled with filing cabinets full of files. Each filing cabinet contains hundreds of files, which contain thousands of ideas. Our aforementioned professional colleague calls and needs an idea from the warehouse. They place their “order”. And “you” deliver the “product”.

Are you beginning to think differently about the value of an idea?

Let’s break it down:

  • The professional colleague didn’t or couldn’t “come up” with ANY ideas. That’s why they called “you” – the warehouse. Isn’t that convenient?
  • Time saving. “Placing an order” with the “warehouse” just saved the professional a lot of thumb-twiddling, pacing-around-the-office time spent accomplishing nothing.
  • The professional was able to find an effective solution, which may revolutionize or at least ignite profit margin or drive greater sales.

All of these things – skills, convenience, time-savers, and solutions - all possess great value.

So the answer to our question, is, yes, ideas are valuable. While it is difficult, and maybe impossible to assign a hard-and-fast stock value to an idea, we must be willing to recognize the inherent, tradable value of intellectual property, and compensate fairly for it. Being able to shoot out ideas at the drop of a hat is a skill. Not everyone can do it. And more importantly, shooting out usable, logical, concrete ideas at a moment’s notice is not only a skill, but a gift.

There was a time when we got paid to think. Paid to “come up” with ideas. Don’t believe me? Watch one episode of Mad Men.

Consider an event. Your client calls you. Why? For your IDEAS! They require your vision and expertise to help them accomplish their goals; whether it is higher brand visibility, driving higher sales and profits, or raising money for a charity. The live event is the physical manifestation of your idea.

And what’s the value of that?