Have an idea? Great, now make sure you keep it to yourself and don't tell anybody, else they will ..... STEAL IT!
We all at one time or another have thought of a really great idea, but didn't share it or act on it. I wish I had a penny for every time somebody told me, "yea, I had an idea similar to Ebay or Craigslist or ____________ (you fill in the blank)".
In the 20th century people who had really great ideas would keep those to themselves and try tirelessly to work in secret, crafting their prototype and trying to gain some market advantage, while making sure the "evil corporation" didn't steal it. 9 times out of 10, the end result was 100% of nothing.
In the 21st century, ideas are the new currency of economic growth. A new strategy is to gather together and share ideas, brainstorm with experts and build those ideas into working businesses.
The old way of thinking would ask, "What if somebody steals your idea?" Let me let you in on a little secret, Nobody is going to steal your idea. I hear great business ideas all the time. Most of them, I think, "Wow, that is a great money making idea." and then I move on. I don't have is a passion and dedication to make that idea a reality. Furthermore, I have other things I am working on and really wouldn't have time to act on somebody else's idea as my own. In reality, I am happy to listen and give unsolicited advice and act as a consultant. Beyond that, I have 3 other jobs, a wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs 2 fish and a LIFE to worry about a no real time to dedicate to another "great idea" that comes my way.
Great ideas are only the starting point and everybody has one. How do we take that next great idea and create economic growth? One current strategy inside communities is to leverage co-work spaces. Spaces like Launch Terre Haute serve as a central hub for entrepreneurs, freelancers and startups to collaborate on ideas, brainstorm and create products. Some work, others start out promising, but may evolve into something totally different. Co-work spaces are a way for like-minded entrepreneurs with ideas to leverage brainpower, find talent and move those ideas into reality.
Another platform we see emerging are monthly meetups focused on ideas and entrepreneurship. These meetups focus on a number of topics and ideas, but the central theme is collaboration, networking and synergy. Additionally it give entrepreneurs an opportunity to vet those ideas and accept feedback. Terre Haute is lucky to have the Verge Terre Haute meetup take place every third Thursday of the month at the Launch Terre Haute co-work space. This meetup is affiliated with other Verge chapters in Indianapolis, Lafayette and Bloomington and is able to take advantage of entrepreneurs from these areas to share their experiences and story.
Communities are beginning to learn what it will take to become a player in the 21st century economy. It won't be strong muscle or or any task that can be outsourced via our global economy, it will be the idea and your ability to make that idea a reality. Ideas are a dime a dozen and nobody is going to steal your idea. You and only you can drive ideas into a business. Those communities that are able to provide the infrastructure and resources to help develop and cultivate those ideas in to businesses will win and win big. This win will come in the form of tax revenues which makes a community more attractive to people and outside talent.
I am fortunate to live in a community that is doing just that and is headed up. The best is yet to come, all we have to do is create the currency.