• 06.01.04

What’s the Big Idea?

I’m only about 55 pages into Ideas Are Free, but I’ve already made plenty of notes in the margins and gotten several, well, ideas. The concept that first hit me hard is mentioned in the overview of the book’s main points: Small ideas are more important than big ideas.

The root cause of the problem was that these managers thought that big ideas were the only way to get ahead. The bigger an idea the more likely it is that competitors will discover and counter it. Small ideas are much less likely to migrate to competitors. Managing small ideas is the most effective way to get big ones.

While that seems sensible, it parallels the debate whether incremental change is more or less powerful than wholesale change. How big a step do you take? I open the question to you: What are more important, big — or small — ideas?

Take the Fast Company poll.