06 March 2017

When you can't innovate, copy!

When you can't innovate, copy!

In a PBS interview concerning the financial meltdown Warren Buffett commented on the natural progression of how good ideas go wrong. He called this the “three Is.” “First come the innovators, who see opportunities and create genuine value. Then come the imitators, who copy what the innovators have done. Sometimes they improve on the original idea; often they tarnish it. Last come the idiots, whose avarice undermines the innovations they are trying to exploit.” [From Practically Radical, by William C. Taylor]

If this is true, are we in danger of being overtaken by the imitators and the idiots?

There has surely been a large influx of imitators, inevitable as markets have expanded rapidly. As Buffett indicates, many of these imitators have added improvements while some have tarnished the innovative ideas. And, there have been a few idiots, people and companies who barely know how to market their products, often giving a bad name in the whole market.

But the real question is how do we keep moving forward as a movement? There are at least four keys ways that come to mind: "continue to innovate, balance idealism and practicality, reinvigorate our value roots, and unify rather than splinter"

Read the interesting article in the Harvard Business Review "When You Can't Innovate, Copy"


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