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Innovation And Copying

by David Brock on June 6th, 2022

Too often, we think we are innovating, when all we are doing is copying. We look at our competitors, seeing what drives their success and we copy them. We try to do the very same things that makes them successful. Whether it’s the same tools, programs, methods, content, we think we innovate by copying.

Or we may look at other successful organizations, assessing what they do, copying it with the hope of being as successful or better than they are.

And it virtually never works! While it works for them, it seldom works for us–and those few times it does, it never works nearly as well as it does for those we copied. Inevitably, we playing a “catch up game,” which is predestined to never enable us to catch up!

Innovation is never copying. Though we may look in other places or at other organizations, understanding what they do, how they do it, innovation requires adaptation. That is looking at these things, adjusting, changing, tweaking them so they work for us.

We are all different, organizationally and individually. When we take interesting ideas, methods, and approaches from other places, it’s critical to adapt them to what causes us to succeed and achieve. For example, our culture, values, purpose are unique to us. How we get things done, how we work together, what causes us to succeed is unique to us. How we create value, and differentiate what we do and stand for is unique to us.

So if we are to take look at other sectors, other organizations, taking what they do, it’s critical we adapt them to what causes us to be successful–not copying what causes others to be successful. The process of doing this adaptation is critical. It helps us understand what drives success and those things that are most critical to how we achieve success through those adaptations.

Innovation is important. It helps us learn, change, grow, and improve. Copying is, well, just pure laziness and lack of understanding/caring.

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