“The reward is in the risk.”


These ideas for avoiding martyrdom are not new. However, just avoiding punishment for your contribution is hardly satisfactory. You want to benefit from your solutions. You want the glory and a share of the spoils. Some clever people want the credit so much that they would rather be martyred than lose it. So how does one have the idea, get the glory, and still avoid a figurative burning at the stake?

You may need to be selfish. Since it is dangerous to share a good idea, why not own its fruits? This strategy is really not as self-serving as it seems. Your martyrdom will not change minds. A successful implementation will force everyone to pay attention. Silicon Valley is crowded with successful refugees from big com- panies. Their employers weren’t interested in breakthroughs worth billions. So the innovators start their own businesses, find partners and supporters to share the risks, and reap the rewards themselves.

Making your idea work requires the courage, persistence, and fortitude of an Einstein. But it can be done. You can do it. And there is great satisfaction in working for something that you believe in. You will never work harder than when making your own baby succeed. Forget about convincing the world—just use your idea to your own advantage.

You may want to rework your original problem definition so that your benefit is a key consideration. Start by identifying carrots and sticks that relate directly to you, even if you are addressing an organizational problem.

Then amend your problem statement to make your success a solution objective. It may be more selfish, but it will help you solve the problem.



“A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.” NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

You will be more successful benefiting from your great solution if many other people benefit from it too. You need their ideas and insights, so you need to give them a stake in your success. In 1982, IBM introduced the personal computer. By accident more than design, IBM allowed other companies to benefit handsomely from this innovation. A few years later, Apple introduced a much better personal computer that was years ahead of the competition. Millions enthusiastically adopted Apple’s Macintosh. Everyone I knew wanted one, including me.

But Apple decided that it should get most of the benefit of its innovation. It restricted others from profiting from the Macintosh. Only Apple could make or improve it. As a result, much more effort went into improving, growing, and expanding the IBM PC market. Trillions of dollars of wealth were created. Macintosh cre- ated wealth too, but much less for companies outside Apple. There were fewer incentives to develop for Macintosh, and its market share remains small.

Sharing the benefit of your idea is the best way to ensure that the best brainpower and effort are behind growing your idea. Shared ideas will be the most advantageous to you in the long run. So be generous.


“To die for an idea is to place a pretty high price upon conjectures.” ANATOLE FRANCE

The world needs solutions, not martyrs. As you use Einstein Thinking to create solutions, watch out for yourself too.

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Author: Pedro Morgan