the Myth of the Big Idea (big ideas are crap)

There are no such things as big ideas.

The entire discussion is crap.

It’s a marketing ploy used in a marketing environment (doesn’t a double negative erase itself?).

It is all about tiny sharp insights. Sharp insights that have the possibility of expanding to something big. Unfortunately I now have a visual of one of those stupid little sponges that expand when you put a drop of water on them).

Maybe Big Ideas are crap is overstating it a little. It is the concept of “finding” or “uncovering” the Big idea that is crap.

What is the Big Idea? Simply by starting your thought process out with this question you have complicated your life and in fact you are saying you are seeking the wrong thing. For in seeking something big you find something that can be torn apart into meaningless little nothings.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen presentations where someone presented “the Big Idea” and I admit it looked really good. Really Big. And everyone walks out of the room feeling like they have been in the presence of something Big and Big things are gonna happen. Then reality enters the room. The Big Idea needs to be implemented. And the implementing organization starts picking at parts & pieces. And the implementers start dealing with all the individual parts & pieces needed to … well .. actually implement the Big Idea. All of a sudden the Big Idea (which was probably a pretty good looking puzzle when it was all together) is a jumble of little puzzle pieces (which don’t fit together to make that really nice Big puzzle again).

Compounding the “Big Idea is crap” issue is that the Big Idea originator (who really didn’t think through all the littleness needed to bring it to life) starts compromising on the Little implementation components (and they don’t need to be just tactics, it can be words and phrasing and things like that) and that makes the jumble of little puzzle pieces become even more jumbled and even less likely to fit back into the Big Idea puzzle.

Oh. And the Big Idea Originator always sits back and blames the Big Idea Organization Owner because they couldn’t see the Bigness in the Idea well enough to not break it apart. Silly. Each component of the Big Idea Organization thinks of themselves as Big in their own right with Big needs and wants to own their Big part. The Big Idea Originator forgot, and consistently does, that without all the Little parts in the organization working to become Big (or even just thinking Big thoughts) the organization is neither Big nor Little, it is simply nothing.

That is why the Big Idea thinking process is crap.

As an acorn becomes an oak. We should be seeking the acorn. We need to learn to revel in the smallness and power of what it is. And understand the gloriousness of what this little thing can become if it is watered and nurtured.


Small isn’t sexy in marketing. It needs to be Big to be meaningful. Too bad. Because Big Ideas are crap.

Written by Bruce