“I just want my idea to take off and be used — it doesn’t matter if I get credit for it.”
You must take credit for your idea. (And, of course, you must share that credit with everyone else directly involved in its birth.)
Why? Because getting credit is the least important part of “taking credit” — when it comes to which ideas spread and which die.
Ideas need champions, if they’re going to take off and be used widely.
Ideas need defenders.
Ideas need explainers, appliers and revisers.
And ideas need networks — yes, the ones you know you have, but especially the ones you have but don’t know about. Ideas today spread to and stick with us because we trust their deliverer at least as much as they do through their own logic.
Ideas make maximum impact quickly when they’re represented publicly by the experts who invented them. Because those are the public experts who understand and advocate for them best.
350 would not be 350 without Bill McKibben.
“The end of history” would not have become “The End of History” — for better or worse — without Frank Fukayama.
Elinor Ostrom didn’t just dismantle Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” through her 1990 book “Governing the Commons.” She did so because she vigorously and publicly kept applying her model and insights to huge new problems (including climate change) for the last 22 years of her life.
Your ideas are born without a face or a voice. To thrive, they need some. Yours.