Patents are, by nature, means to prevent others from profiting from another’s ideas. (That’s my take anyway) This is an indicator on how valuable ideas can be. And, anything that is of value is worth protecting. After all, ideas are the foundation of innovation.

Not just any ideas, but ideas that are worked on. It must be said, that you are able to identify many enemies of your idea. It could be competitors, if you provide a service or product. However, there is one enemy that you often overlook. The one enemy of all the ideas you’ve had, have and will have is you.

The one enemy of all the ideas you’ve had, have and will have is you.

You probably have measures to protect the ‘trade secrets’ of your enterprise. (It is folly not to be intentional about guarding those things that uniquely set you apart as an organization). However, how often do you think and act on protecting your ideas from yourself?

Here are 3 ways to protect your ideas from yourself:


This is the first line of defense. You cannot protect something for which you have not ‘location’ whether physical (tangible) or logical (virtual). The first front you must have in protecting your ideas must be to capture them. It is easy to forget something especially if it is not something that has preoccupied your mind for a long time.

Sometimes it is the seemingly small ideas that have the potential for great impact. You must capture your ideas if they are going to be translated from your mind to the world, or your world at least.

Store your ideas in a place where they are not only secure but easy to access I use Evernote for this. Jon Acuff introduced Evernote to me on a Backstage Leadership session. Evernote is a great app available numerous platform, including mobile ones. Jon highlighted the importance of storing ideas in an “index-able” way.

We often overlook that we pose the first threat to our own ideas [Click to Tweet]

Think about how many notebooks or Moleskines have you owned since you could write? (I admit I do have a Moleskine for those very rare occasions I’m not allowed to have any devices, but I quickly transfer everything to Evernote).

Now, how easy is it to find any idea over notebook you’ve accumulated, say, over the last 10 years? 5 years? A year ago?

Evernote allows you to have numerous notebooks, use tags and search your notebooks later. Also, it allows you include media, such as pictures and voice recording.

And, to top it off, you can install Evernote on multiple devices so you can update your ideas on the go and they sync with the Evernote installation on other devices.

Capture your ideas; this is the first front in protecting them. Remember: a great idea is useless if you cannot find it!


This may seem contradictory but another way to protect your ideas from yourself is to share them. This is especially important in the context of a team idea. Numerous locations, in the form of your team, get be a great way to protect ideas from being ‘lost’ by you.

Because everyone on your team has a unique outlook, sharing your ideas with your core team creates opportunity for your idea(s) to be enriched. Your team can also hold you accountable for not acting on your ideas.

The next level in innovation for your organization may just be in the ideas you share. Some ideas can only get better when they are shared. So, protect your ideas from yourself by sharing them.


This is probably one of the most challenging things when it comes to ideas: Acting on them. Do something with your ideas soon or they will be lost. Nothing ensures that an idea lives on like acting upon it. The final front in protecting yourself from your ideas is to act on them stop talking yourself out of acting.

There are some ideas that no amount of research and analysis can provide a probable result and the best way to assess how well they will work is through acting on them. Some refer to the “paralysis of analysis”… There will always be an element of risk to every idea.

Stop talking yourself out of possibilities on the account of possible failure. Instead of looking at what you could lose when you act on your idea, consider the stakes if you do not act on them. Protect your ideas from yourself by getting out of your own way and acting on them.

image by MrB-MMX | (cc)

Share some of your experiences with your ideas and protecting them… What are the other ways you advise to protect ideas?

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world