Ideas Have Expiration Dates, Too

April 10, 2020

Here's a little-known trade secret: there is an invisible expiration stamp on ideas. Between changes in markets, technology and the cultural zeitgeist, an idea that seemed brilliant a year ago just never quite sings when it’s revisited. In the current COVID-19 environment, ideas have an even shorter lifespan. Events are unfolding so quickly and unexpectedly that uncertainty is the new norm. What seems highly relevant today may be completely wrong or entirely off the radar in two weeks.  

Now consider that almost every business and organization is working from the same creative brief.  Tens of thousands of hypervigilant minds are devouring all of the same news and information, openly sharing like never before, and working across time zones to answer the same questions: What’s happening? What’s going to happen next? What should my business’ next step be? What does the other side of this look like?  

More so than ever before, speed to market is everything. The brands that emerge most successfully from the lockdown will be those that effectively move ideas from the drawing board to market activation. Decisiveness will trump large group consensus. Teams must learn new ways to work with agility. Perfectionists must let go of production values (Case in point: the inspired work coming out of basements for big brands).

As for that expiration date? Let’s put a stake in the ground and say that if we aren’t acting on our ideas in 72 hours, someone else likely is.