09/24/2012 02:22 pm ET | Updated Nov 24, 2012

Would you "kill" for a good idea?

Would you "die" for one?

While we tend to throw these metaphors around -- as we should -- lightly and tongue in cheek, we wouldn't really kill nor do we really want to die for a good idea -- any idea for that matter, certainly not in our world -- but rather we use these throwaway idioms to signify our passion and the inspiration we get from exciting new ideas. That is, most of us anyway.

I once wrote about "Falling on Swords" and considered various scenarios that might or might not be worth the ordeal. My bottom line, by the way, was that very little is worth it... and ideas were certainly not amongst them.

And therein lies the issue: if you won't "die or kill" -- if you won't "fall on your sword" -- then how passionate are you really? How seriously good is your idea? How much could it really be worth?

People who value open systems believe that is just the point -- value comes not from owning but from sharing. Not from passion for what is mine but from passion for sharing. From understanding that access is the new ownership, it's not what I hoard, it's what I can use when I want.

I write this as I make my way home, mentally energized and physically exhausted, from an intense weekend in Marathon, Greece, where I attended a Marathon weekend of sharing, collaboration and teamwork with 300 eclectic but like-minded people from around the world who had but one goal: leave with more than they entered because the sum of the whole was worth way more than whatever they might have given away.

The event is called Stream and is hosted by WPP (full disclosure: I work for them) in various locales around the world but always with the same goal -- put in a penny worth of thinking and take out a dollar. Not a bad investment strategy these days, n'ést pas?

The core strategy is simple: set up an environment where ownership is irrelevant and where passion is built by abandoning what you might have once held dear and precious not because you have lost faith, but rather and better because together with others you have built on your thinking and others have built on theirs and the resulting new mash-up is exciting, exhilarating, motivating and, by the way, might only last until another addition, another build on, another source of input.

It is truly a Marathon, with the understanding that solo thinking is for sprinters, who lose steam over the long term, while the most powerful outcomes will be built and evolve over time with deep and committed collaboration.

I listened to and participated in conversations ranging from discussing the launch of a new technology that cleans the air; to behavioral economics; to the problems brick-and-mortar retailers have with "show rooming"; to the notion of Generation World (shameless plug).

I watched an expert fly wild-looking drones; I tried the new Windows 8 operating system (a game changer); I drank too much cheap Greek red wine (worse on the stomach than the head...); and I saw a 3-D printer develop quick design prototypes... in 3-D (imagine that, must be why they call it that).

I shared meals, conversations, walks, drinks, ice cream and cigars with a ragtag collection of interesting, smart as anything and open for anything people and came away with something new each time.

And again, here's the key, I might die for your right to think but no way was anyone there going to immolate themselves for their own intellectual property; to the contrary, the key was to argue your point, own it, be ready to defend and then do it all over again with your new thinking.

Again -- I reiterate -- you have to be ready to burn (or else, why bother?) but in the end you burned with the clean passion of shared discovery and building new and not the smoky, stifling fire of the siloed old and used.


"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Sir Winston Churchill

You see, by definition martyrs are created by those ready to die, who sadly have those ready to kill around to oblige. Stream is about eliminating both sides of that self-limiting equation....

So to those who believe in self-immolation; to those who are so passionate about their ideas that they practice suicide murder; to those who are so convinced they are right that they will kill you to prove it.

I say: I'm ready for martyrdom too, only the date changes with every new idea I listen to that affects the idea I'm holding...

And if you must wear a vest, make it grey flannel....

What do you think?