ENTREPRENEURS are naturally protective of their ideas. Understandably, they keep their ideas to themselves to avoid having them stolen.
Don't keep it to yourself Tell your idea to as many people as possible and seek their opinions. Talk with people you trust and whose opinion you value.
While it is important to protect proprietary information from being copied, entrepreneurs can also gain valuable insight and perspective from feedback before investing heavily in a product that only looks good conceptually.
A startup’s journey is very much akin to running a series of experiments before it finds a path to sustainable growth. A product or an idea should be subjected to validation before it can be tweaked and scaled up to form a viable company.
And what better way to get some form of early validation than to share your ideas with like-minded people for constructive input.
While entrepreneurs are more willing to share and discuss their ideas these days, this culture of sharing is still new in the local scene.
Seasoned entrepreneurs have found bouncing ideas off other people to be more helpful than harmful. Apart from getting feedback on their ideas, they note that more often than not, sharing connects them with other people who can help fill the gaps and turn ideas into reality.
Additionally, sharing ideas and resources could also help accelerate innovation in a field.
For example, American electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors recently announced that it will be making its patents available to other companies that want to use them.
Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk explained that the move would help advance electric vehicle technology.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveils the dual engine chassis of the new Tesla 'D' model at the Hawthorne Airport October 09, 2014 in Hawthorne, California.
“Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day,” Musk had said.
By allowing the use of its patents, industry observers note that Tesla will be clearing the way for more collaboration with other electric car makers to develop new technologies and would enable the company to take a leadership role in developing standards for the industry and its value chain.
Entrepreneurs are increasingly being encouraged to share and collaborate to innovate and build better products.
And a beauty about being in the present time is that there are more ways than ever to tap into a support network that can provide startups with a platform to share and build on ideas and resources.
Some of these platforms include spaces such as incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces. Apart from being just a shared working station, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have evolved into collaborative work spaces that provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to meet and collaborate on ideas with a host of other people to innovate better solutions.
Additionally, there are various forums as well as startup events and programmes that provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to network, share ideas and work together. There are also a number of agencies that are targeted at guiding entrepreneurs with developing their ideas.
Most entrepreneurs still worry about letting on too much on their ideas. But if they can overcome that fear, entrepreneurs stand to gain much from collaborating with one another.
Take advantage of the entrepreneurial community brought together by such platforms to innovate and rather than develop your ideas in silos.
■ This is the final article in a 10-part tie-up between Metrobiz and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creative Centre (MaGIC) to explore startup ecosystems.
By Joy Lee The Star/Asia News Network
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