The “Idea Economy” Begins

Welcome to a Period of Unprecedented Opportunity 

We are exceptionally lucky.   Economic rules are being re-written around us.   This is an amazing time to be in business, the ground floor of a rebuilding of the way we create wealth for each other and ourselves.

The Idea Economy Takes Hold

It’s a big deal.   Each time an economic model has fallen, there have been (very) hard times for those who clung to old paradigms, but dramatically new opportunities and vigor overall.  

The Industrial / Market economy of the 19th and 20th century is crumbling.  It is being replaced by a fast moving marketplace that will be particularly welcoming to creative and ambitious new ideas.  This is a change of the scale and depth of the one that occured when we moved from a world dominated by Agricultural to an Industrial / Mass Market economy. 

What’s Driving This Change?

Deep changes drive the transformation from the Industrial Economy to the Idea Economy.So what happened?  What is the “Idea Economy” and why has it happened now?   Three deep changes have set this transformation in motion:

  • Technology Changes – A critical mass in technical change and idea creation is producing ideas and possibilities at an unprecedented rate.   More is possible than ever before … while change makes everything obsolete at an ever faster cadence.  
  • Barriers Fall – The barriers of geography, capital, and knowledge that used to protect market positions have all collapsed at one time.  Anyone and everyone can join the marketplace.
  • Abundance Flourishes – The world is exceptionally able to create products and services.  Faced with unprecedented choice, empowered customers no long have to settle or compromise.    

What Matters has Changed

In every economy rewards flow to those who can acquire and utilize the enabling resource of the age.   In Agricultural economies this meant amassing, defending and managing land.  In the Industrial / Mass Market economy it was capital drove the investments that produced economies of scale.

Economic priorities change with shifts in the governing economic model. 

In today’s new economy Ideas are the critical determinant of opportunity.   The ability to produce standardized products year after year, the bulwork of a mass market economy, is inconsequential in an environment where production and distribution have become comodified and commonplace.    It is the idea and the ability to execute it with agility that delivers economic value.


The world has changed.  Change with it … or fall behind.

Brainstorming Questions

  • Do we really believe? Do we talk about “innovation” but act according to the rules of the Industrial/Market economy?
  • Beyond patents and other formal intellectual capital,  do we measure ideas as assets? 
  • How many new ideas have we really had in the last year?
  • How many truly original ideas were actually delivered to the marketplace over the last three years?
  • Who in the organization sees this change in the marketplace and governing economic rules?

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