Scott Berkun’s HBR piece, “Does Size Matter for Ideas?” raised some interesting points, but I also think it perpetuated some stereotypes about ideas and that plague all of us – big or small – in the communications business.

Recently I was in Singapore at the annual Spikes Advertising Festival – a gathering of marketers representing both the client and agency side. Much of the discussion centered around the power of ideas and to a person, all of the marketers said that is what they are looking for from their agency partners – “the big idea.” To me what was interesting though was this perception that large agencies are in danger of losing ground in this area to smaller, more “nimble” agencies.

This is a stereotype I think must be challenged. And here’s why – ideas are inherently human in every way. Companies or agencies don’t think of an idea – someone – a human being – thinks of the idea. And if it is a good idea, that actually works, it is only because it actually connects with other “humans” and is based on a deep understanding of people and their behavior. The McDonald brothers knew that people wanted a simpler and faster way to get good food. And they found a way to bring that idea to market and to this day the brand still stands for, Simple, Easy Enjoyment.

Another great “idea” of our time arguably is Facebook. Recently one of our leaders who heads up Leo Burnett’s digital expertise, posed an interesting thought as part of our discussion about social media (a discussion I know is happening in every one of our organizations). He had this to say about social media, “media isn’t social, people are.” Social media is the phenomenon it is, because it is an idea – thought up by people based on a deep understanding of people and the way they behave.

Am I saying that a bloated bureaucracy can’t kill a really good idea – of course not, I’ve seen it happen myself, but what I am saying is that all good ideas come FROM people – and are FOR people. And to make an assumption that because you work for a large organization, it is harder to have good ideas simply flies in the face of common sense. Ideas are not only the most important engine of our progress and our prosperity, they are the most democratic. And ideas don’t care where they come from.