Yesterday I was mentoring and the entrepreneur I was with was talking about product design and it got me to thinking about product development, innovation and reinvention. Innovation is a subject I am passionate about
To often we think innovation is a process of serendipity however there are patterns, and one can reinvent and repurpose an idea into another domain or industry.
this is why the smart people look beyond their industry and look for ideas and inspiration across many different domains…. (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett et all).
if Steve Jobs had not gone to Xerox Parc and “copied” the mouse, it would no doubt have remained in the labs as an expensive toy…
Equally well this is a model that other CEOs and entrepreneurs should follow and look across into other industries for inspiration.
I also encourage people to look beyond their industry because inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere – luck favour the prepared mind so don’t judge ideas, think how you might be able to apply it in your area of interest.
there is a quote – don’t know who to attribute it to but “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research”
Now the issue is that we draw inspiration from many sources and the reality is when ideas originally come out, they are not fully thought through and need time to mature and can be repurposed across other industries.
it is often in the second cycle or subsequent iterations when the idea is reinvented or repurposed and becomes fit for purpose. so many ideas that “failed” during the first or second wave of dotcoms are only now being reinvented because the time/market is right. Too often it is easy to dismiss an idea because it failed first…
Ideas come of age, everything has the right time and in the right person/entrepreneur/leader they come alive with their passion, energy and drive.
It is not just the originality of the idea, but the execution of that idea or vision that makes the difference.
Steve Jobs had a very interesting quote about the Japanese and how they developed products to be better than the original…
“Japan’s very interesting. Some people think it copies things. I don’t think that anymore. I think what they do is reinvent things. They will get something that’s already been invented and study it until they thoroughly understand it. In some cases, they understand it better than the original inventor. Out of that understanding, they will reinvent it in a more refined second-generation version. That strategy works only when what they’re working with isn’t changing very much, the stereo industry and the automobile industry are two examples. When the target is moving quickly, they find it very difficult, because that reinvention cycle takes a few years. As long as the definition of what a personal computer is keeps changing at the rate that it is, they will have a very hard time.”
Today it is not just about building a better mousetrap or product but also being able to time it right and market t properly.
I would also recommend you to follow Andrew Chen’s blog. he gives and shares his perspective from Silicon Valley.
Andrew thank you for suggesting this video