The Smoke in Need of a Fire-Breathing Dragon

“This sounds like part of an idea. It’s the smoke, and we still need a fire-breathing dragon.”

This statement was exclaimed by one of the students I’m working with in my involvement with MCAD‘s Visualization program.

I was leading the team through a ideation evaluation exercise – culling down their large number of brainstormed concepts down to a smaller, more defined, more viable, more actionable list. Some of the concepts in the more than 70 item list were thrown out immediately. Others we pondered for awhile to determining if something was there we could use later.

Many ideas are just that – smoke in need of a dragon. Smaller ideas that compliment and polish larger more powerful ideas – though they aren’t strong enough to support themselves. Just like the smoke without the fire-breathing dragon.

The stereotypical dot-com example of this is selling pet food online. Selling pet food is the smoke to selling food online which is the smoke to selling anything online. As we’ve seen, to survive and succeed businesses and the workers they employ need big Fire-breathing Dragon ideas. Smoke ideas can only augment and compliment – they can’t sustain.

UPDATE 24 March 2006: J Wynia is on a similar track with Searching for Werewolves