I’ve been reading a book lately, appropriately titled Copycats. I’m sure you have no idea where my inspiration for this post came from…
It is written by Oded Shenkar, and speaks heavily on how imitators actually become some of the best innovators in the world when it comes to business.
I am reading it for the business aim that it takes, but these ideas can be implemented in multiple aspects of our lives.
We have all heard of Boeing, correct? If you’ve ever flown out of a public airport, there is a 99% chance you have flown in a Boeing engineered airplane.
One of, if not the biggest, powerhouses in the commercial aviation industry, had nothing to do with the invention of the commercial airliner.
Comet, an airline company that was dominating the market in the 1950’s, suffered a few crashes in too small a period of time, and the Boeing President at the time saw an opportunity.
Bill Allen saw one of the Comet models at the Farnbourough Air Show and immediately saw an opportunity to take the mold of what has already been created, and simply add a few tweaks to improve it.
This realization probably saved Boeing millions and millions of dollars in R&D.
Now, enough business talk. How does this apply to you?
Because odds are, you aren’t the best in the world at what you are doing.
Don’t be upset at hearing that though, I’m not trying to dishearten you, that is just a simple fact.
You should actually be thrilled about this, it means people have paved the way before you and you can catch up, or even pass them!
Look at someone who is one of the best in the world at what you are doing. Use all of the resources you can, and try your best to pick them apart. Watch them work and study their finished products as much as you possibly can. Find out what they do really well, and find out what they do poorly.
The latter is the most important part.
If you can take someone who is the best at what you both are doing and dissect their strategies and techniques with the intent of making sure that YOU perfect THEIR drawbacks, you are already ahead.
They have spent years and years of work and practice to get to where they are right now. They have made mistake after mistake and potentially lost money, friends, family, the list goes on and on.
There is innovation, imitation, and imovation.
Be an imovator.
Mix the two worlds of imitating and innovating.
Use paths already walked before you, and find out how to walk that same path more effectively and productively.