Why Ideas are Unprofitable

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office issues nearly 160,000 patents a year for everything from nanotechnology to jet-powered surfboards. Yet a mere 1 percent—just 1,600—reach the marketplace, according to the patent office. The dirty little secret about American ingenuity is that we’re terrible at translating original ideas into profit-producing businesses.

This might be considered heresy in the era of popular thinkfests such as TED and Davos, but ideas are inherently unprofitable. The value of an idea (and its inventor) is essentially zero. True economic value lies in the person or company that can figure out how to scale an idea and deliver it efficiently to market.

» via BusinessWeek

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