Creativity and innovation thrive through collaboration. This can be difficult for some business owners to embrace, especially entrepreneurs, who may be hesitant to trust others not knowing their intentions. But information-sharing is instrumental in finding and solving problems, it can provide necessary facts and points of view about the market and industry. A great idea for a new product or service with no market will not become a successful business.

Ideas + Accurate Fact Finding = Innovative Growth

Many entrepreneurs avoid asking questions or volunteering information for fear of having their ideas stolen or shared publicly. This type of mindset can actually breed mistrust causing others to offer misleading or inaccurate data. The consequences of misdirected fact-finding can lead to erroneous problem definition later. People may only be telling you what you want to hear, which can be detrimental to the development of a new idea or business. 

Some industries are warranted in the secrecy of their ideas. Defense contractors, major corporations with extensive R and D labs, and biotechnology companies build intellectual property fences to shield their ideas. 

For most businesses, ensuring authenticity by honestly sharing ideas and information, and giving your trust is the most effective way of earning trust in return. This requires taking a risk and openly communicating your own thoughts even though they may not be ready. Developing a product or service based on accurate information and supported facts will almost certainly lead to further growth and opportunities.

Here are three reasons why entrepreneurs should be more open to sharing their ideas:

    1. New and possibly better opportunities may evolve when additional facts are gathered from collaborative sessions. For example, talking to customers can be the difference between success and failure. These conversations can lead to pivots and possible “I hadn’t thought of that” moments.
    2. Large companies already have immense resources and networks they can draw from in order to gather the facts and viewpoints they need. Many hire outside market research companies to provide a customer perspective.  Internally, great “ahas” can arise from classic water cooler conversations. 
  • Individuals that guard their ideas in overprotective ways risk coming across to others as Gollum from Lord of the Rings, “My Precious!” When this happens, no one wants to help as the person comes across as untrusting and greedy.

Do not limit yourself because you are scared or unwilling to open up and share ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen if they don’t ever get implemented.  For a new idea to develop into a new innovation, you must follow a process. Doing good fact-finding is crucial so that no stone is left unturned and overlooked. In fact, reaching out to your customers, an angel network, or other businesses to get their feedback and be ready to answer more questions is vital. Keeping your idea to yourself and jumping straight into implementation is a recipe for failure.  

Successful entrepreneurs trust their instincts and those close to them.  They are willing to take risks, understand their market, and follow a process that helps them successfully advance and implement their ideas.  Most importantly, they know that collaboration is the key ingredient. 

To learn more about how to share ideas so innovation can thrive, visit Remember, everyone is an innovator, you just don’t know it yet.