You heard me right,there are no original ideas left.
I-Phones that’s was an original idea, right? Cell phones already existed, smaller lap tops were popular and touch screen devices were everywhere. Apple was bright enough to figure out the right combination of technology to bundle, but nothing they did was original. It was nothing more than the evolution of some things that already exist.
How about the original telephone, that’s an original idea. Not so much. Telegraphs crossed the country allowing communication and the human voice had already been captured and recorded. The telephone was the natural progression.
What about the internet itself. HA! That was original. Well not in my book. Telegraph lines crossed the country. News telegraphs sent stories over the wires and onto to typewriters all over the country. Computers were sharing data from digital tapes carried from one to another, Sooo again, not original. just a brilliant use of all the existing technologies to form the logical next step. Original idea? NO!
I recently mentioned at an Ebsco management meeting that I had never had an original idea in over 30 years of management. I stole every idea I had. It’s true. In my past position I had a reputation for being an innovator. I freely admit not one idea was original, I stole them all. The appearance of being an innovator came from my ability to successfully bundle the ideas I stole.
I guess I didn’t actually steal them. I simply copied pieces from several different places and formed them into my own. Bundling? Might be a good word for it. Innovation, Now that word fits.
Innovation is the art of listening to what the people want and then looking at all the elements out there to create the right combination to meet those wants. That’s innovation and that is what separates successful from un-successful companies. I mentioned in a previous Blog that if a company was not growing it was dying. That growth is innovation.
Successful leaders are always looking and listening. Listening for what people want and looking for the parts to make that a reality. They look at competition, suppliers, other industries, the media and every place they go. They take in everything, always with an eye to how that can be made an advantage for them, how that will meet a customers needs. That’s what I try to do. I never go to a customer without seeing ideas that will make us better. Every time I see product or hear comments on competitors I see small opportunities for Ebsco to improve (I seem to only find SMALL ideas from our competition. Any interaction with another company of any kind holds opportunities for innovation, you just need to listen and see.
So a word to the leaders that are listening. Get out of your head, locked in your office, trying to come up with the next brilliant idea to make your company a success. Get out in the world and take it ALL in, with an eye for what will work at your company. A dash from here, a piece from there, a strategy from elsewhere all matched up with what the customers want and you might be on your way to the next big thing. Just don’t call it original. We know you stole it.There are no new original ideas.