Social Question

crewger1's avatar

What is the value of an idea?

Asked by crewger1 (27points) June 26th, 2010

Are ideas worth anything or does it need to be materialized?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

It depends on how fanciful or concrete it is. If you have a solid idea for a new invention you are advised to patent it.

Jeruba's avatar

A very creative woman once said to me, when I’d asked her if she didn’t want to safeguard her idea: “Ideas are a dime a dozen. What’s rare is somebody who can take an idea and act on it.”

She then proceeded to toss out half a dozen ideas for products and works of art.

I’ve noticed over the years that the people most likely to hoard ideas are those for whom an actual idea is a rarity.

AstroChuck's avatar

Mine, not so much. I’ve been repeatedly offered a penny for my thoughts. Of course that is a little better than a dime a dozen.

AmWiser's avatar

Ideas are worth everything. Everything no matter how small started off as an idea.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

An idea is assigned a value according to the number of people that think it is worth implementing. This number can be increased or decreased with proper marketing. For example, the idea of an artificial language is valuable to the ~1000 people who speak Esperanto as their native language, but largely superfluous and irrelevant to the rest of us.

ETpro's avatar

I guess no idea is of much value if you do nothing with it. Clearly ideas can be of incredible value if they are good and if they are acted on. How about the person who first noticed that round things roll better than square things, and came up with the idea for the wheel?

MissA's avatar

Not every idea needs to be acted upon.

Some ideas become intellectual property, sometimes patented, sometimes copyrighted and sometimes bought and sold.

Ideas should not be deemed irrelevant if they don’t ultimately bring in large amounts of cash.

Sometimes it is enough to think them.

ETpro's avatar

@MissA I did not mean acted on in terms only of monetization. The wheel is again a good example. I believe we would find widespread agreement that it was a phenomenally good idea and has been a blessing to mankind for millennia on end. But we have no idea who invented it, and whoever did likely didn’t earn anything for the invention. BY “acted on” I mean do something to push it beyond just a thought in your own head. That something could be nothing more than sharing it with someone else, who shares it with others till it takes over the world. If you did that with a good idea, you would have benefited all mankind and possibly never earned a cent or even been recognized for your contribution. But as you point out, that wouldn’t demean the contribution.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Ideas have merit if they are well thought out. They need not have any commercial value.

Are we so constricted in our thinking that the only value we can conceive is economic?

Come on folks. The real ideas of value have nothing to do with making a profit.

Give it some thought!

MissA's avatar

I think we pretty much all agree…just expressed differently.

wundayatta's avatar

For me, they are worth everything. I live for ideas. Without ideas, I think I would die of boredom.

Fortunately they flow around me like drops of water in a stream. The biggest fountain of ideas is questions. There are a lot of questions around—fluther is one of the question wholesalers, but there are other places.

In any case, while there is a marketplace of ideas, and I suppose that is one measure of the value of an idea, I think it is the individual who establishes the value of an idea, albeit, only for themselves. But then, what else matters, when considering ideas? Hmmm?

Jeruba's avatar

@wundayatta, I think you are speaking of a different kind of ideas: the world of ideas, the realm of thought, versus the cartoon-lightbulb “I have an idea!” I took the OP to be asking about lightbulbs and not the life of the mind.

mattbrowne's avatar

A venture capitalist will tell you.

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