Lord Rutherford got it wrong – he overlooks why we have no money. Thinking is not enough
I’ve been reading through the NZ Trade and Enterprise’s Investment Ready Guide - a must for anyone considering raising cash for their business.
It has a great line – “there are many ‘brilliant ideas’ in the world, but far fewer business teams capable of executing those ideas.”
You could replace ‘in the world’ with ‘in NZ’.
We love the ideas stuff because it fits our image of ourselves – clever do-it-yourself thinkers who lead the world. This often gets called innovation, but it ain’t.
An innovation definition: Process by which an idea or invention is translated into a good or service for which people will pay.
Kiwis are good at the first bit, but too often crap at the second.
What’s ever come of all of our ideas and invention over the last 30 or so years? Stuff all from a national economic perspective.
Lord Rutherford’s quote – “We [Kiwis] haven’t got the money, so we’ve got to think!” – is really bullshit.
Thinking has delivered lot of great ideas, but little else…and that’s why we have no money.
As business commentator Rod Oram says a lot of innovation in NZ is done “in a vacuum – it’s by people who are not plugging into any kind of commercial reality”.
A big part of that reality is marketing and selling. Unlike our strong national drive around ideas, there’s a cultural gap around salesmanship. (See the “slow sell nation” series of posts).
The Investment Ready Guide points out businesses often seek to invest in ideas and patents believing these will be valuable.
“…in fact creating sales and being first to market would be a better way of spending the money. It’s often been said that only one in a hundred patents makes back more money than was spent in development and patent protection, and that 10 percent of the hard work is in the development and patenting, whilst 90 percent of the hard work is in creating sales.
“Remember, sales generate revenue, patents in themselves don’t.”
[Photo credit - Naked_Eyes via Flickr]