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Idea is not cheap

已有 8706 次阅读 2008-6-29 09:24 |个人分类:不同意见

Idea is not cheap

 

It is widely held in many people, include the scientific and commercial community, that idea is cheap. This statement is often used to deny the one who has come up an idea, a proposal or a plan. Admittedly, there is some truth in the argument. Compared to execution, maybe idea is "cheap" because to come up with an idea is much easier than to realize it. If this argument aims at emphasizing the importance of execution it is valid and reasonable. However, as far as I am concerned, because this statement may leads to an underestimate of the importance of coming up with new ideas hence impair the process of creativity, it is problematic and should be amended. In my opinion, idea is not cheap for the most part.

 

It is indisputable that without idea or thought there is no action. Before you conduct a research, you should plan it; visualize it in your mind. An excellent idea is the precondition of a beautiful action, such as scientific research or business deal. We just have to look at the example of the invention of monoclonal antibody. The idea is so simple: a plasma cell has the capacity of releasing a specific antibody; a myeloma cell has the capacity of unlimited replication and division. If conduct a cell fusion on these two types of cells, then the fusion cell may have both characteristics of these two cells. Undoubtedly, without such a "cheap" idea, we can not invent monoclonal body which has changed biological science dramatically. Of course, this idea is not a cheap idea, so it is safe to say at least some ideas, though only small fractions are not cheap ideas.

 

 

What about the other majority of ideas? Are they cheap ideas? Maybe you will say yes, but in my view, they are not. As a coin has two sides, every idea has both strengths as well as weakness. There are two major indices to assess an idea, the feasibility and value. A good idea has both high value and feasibility, but a bad one, or "cheap" one, May either has little significance, or can not be realized. But like anything incipient, at the beginning when an idea is brought up, it is imperfect and has lots of drawbacks. As time goes by, it becomes more perfect. In short, a "cheap" idea is the basis of a valuable one. Moreover, if you talk your idea with others or yourself, it may stimulate the mind and cause others or yourself to bring up better ideas.

 

Most importantly, believing "idea is cheap" will de-emphasize the importance of coming up with new ideas and hence reduce the number of ideas one may come up. If one (such as a teacher, supervise or mentor) usually use this statement to deny others' new ideas, then others may feel defeated. This negative feeling may serve as a "punishment system". In order to avoid more denial, there is every chance that they will not come up with new ideas. It is impossible that a person only comes up valuable ideas, so if a person comes less ideas, the number of valuable ideas is doomed to decline. Meanwhile, if one believes that idea is cheap, he will probably not put high value on coming up with new ideas, consequently the number of ideas as well as valuable ideas will decrease.

 

A single example will serve to illustrate my point. In order to survive, an insect has to lay a large amount of eggs. Obviously, only small fractions of these eggs will grow up to adult insect. But if you told the insect that because most of the eggs can not survive hence is cheap, the insect may lay much lesser eggs. Then it comes as no surprise that the insect may be on the verge of dying out in a year or two.

 

If you think other’s idea is cheap, maybe it is only because you can not identify the valuable ones or you can not find the merits of that idea. If you think your own idea is cheap, maybe it is because you can not come with valuable ones.

 

The best way to treat with the less valuable ideas is that to find out the merits of it and told the one who bring up it that the idea is good, but will be better if he or she can make some improvement. You can regard this idea as a trigger of your creativity and come up with better ones or try to ameliorate it. The development of this good habit, namely encourage others and yourself to come up with as more fresh ideas as they or you can and choose the most valuable ones to realize it will benefit you a lot during all your life.

 



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