Project Management

Forget the Money. Show Me Your Ideas!

George Ball

KM pop quiz!

Who said the following: "Ideas are capital. The rest is just money." Was it:

  1. A knowledge management guru?          
  2. A KM/collaboration software application salesman?          
  3. A bank robber?          
  4. A venture capitalist?

You probably recognized immediately the answer is c because (1) this is a trick question; and (2) when in doubt about multiple choice questions, eliminate the obvious wrong answers. If c is still standing, choose that because c is the typically the "duty" answer.

Actually, it wasn?t really a bank robber (I told you it was a trick question!); it was a bank. So what bank is so hyped up that it thinks ideas are better than money, and why? The bank is Deutsche Bank, and the quote is the tag line from one of their Where is the Next Opportunity? Fresh Ideas Leading to Results ads in a campaign that I have seen running of late in BusinessWeek. The ads typically show a high-powered business person ? in this case, a venture capitalist ? looking contemplatively off into the distance. From this advertisement, I divine the hidden message that the bank can help your business figure out the right ideas to invest in, and then, of course, help finance that investment.

Loyal readers will recall that I touched on this subject ? ideas as business capital ? in an article this past December, "Knowledge Management? What a Capital Idea, …

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"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend to read it."

- Groucho Marx