“Copycats” – A Fresh Look at How Imitation Contributes to Innovation | Futurelab – We are marketing and customer strategy consultants with a passion for profit and innovation..
“We are like dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants,” Bernard of Chartres.
“Good artists borrow, great artists steal,” Picasso, or, more likely, TS Eliot.
You’re “stepping all over Apple’s IP,” Steve Jobs.
Let’s get one thing straight. There aren’t any truly original ideas out there. Even the most astonishing scientific breakthroughs are built on the foundations of others’ work. Innovation, even great innovation, is frequently recombination of existing piece parts along with a twist or two, perhaps a different business model, core market, geographic focus.
Most of the literature on the subject, though, treats innovation as a sacred search for the truly different and unique, and diminishes the role of imitation. As such, it does a disservice to business – an audience that fails to appreciate the critical importance of not reinventing the wheel. [You could argue that reviewers and bloggers have enabled this innovation-worship, including this one.]