Most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from someone else. Sam Walton
All good ideas are borrowed; all great ideas are stolen. (I’m being a bit facetious with that statement, but not by much.)
There are few original ideas. Even things that seem unique and proprietary are most likely simply the combination of, or reorganizing of, existing elements, or the next iteration. Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things.”
Of course, copyrights and patents must be respected and proper attributions given, but 99% of the world’s knowledge is public domain. (That percentage is a wild guess on my part.)
There’s no need to reinvent the pancake.
- Before you start a new business, visit successful companies similar to what you intend to do and learn from them.
- If you’ve been in business for years but need to hit the refresh button, observe what others are doing and borrow that which is beneficial.
- Intentionally study organizations that are dissimilar to yours (perhaps in an entirely different industry) and look for ideas that will transfer.
- Continuously ask for people’s opinions and input.
Most entrepreneurs are not inventors; they are good spotters. They notice what’s working elsewhere and adapt it to their environments.
Most good ideas are spotted “along the way”—that’s why we must intentionally and continuously “roam the earth” with our eyes and minds open, searching for things we can borrow. Read, travel, visit unfamiliar environments, talk to fully alive people; get out of your dog runs and strike out on a new path, all the while, looking for transferable ideas.
Original ideas are overrated and scarce. Existing ideas are numerous, available, and already vetted.
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