Here is a telling passage from “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” by Ken Auletta, about Larry Page, one of the two founder of Google, reflecting on the career of Nikolai Tesla and the start of Google:
Page told me he learned from Tesla that “you can invent the world’s greatest things, but if you just invent them it doesn’t accomplish much… I found it very sad. You can imagine if he were slightly more skilled in business, or with people, he’d have gotten a lot more done.” Brilliant ideas along would not suffice. Timing and follow-through, and raising resources, really mattered.
“I realized I wanted to invent things, but I also wanted to change the world,” Page once said. He became convinced that in order to effect scientific change he needed to start a business. Inventing things, he once said, “wasn’t any good; you really had to get them out into the world and have people use them to have any effect.”
There’s really not much that needs to be added. Brilliant ideas are not enough. We have to execute them, and we have to get them out in the world so that people use them.
Another important lesson from Google…
Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.