Imitation might not be bad

copy photoInnovation is a buzzword and the notion of it is so widespread that we often think that to be successful we need to come up with something completely new. However, imitation might not be so bad and instead be a necessary step for innovation to occur.

Entrepreneurs, for instance, often like to bring a product that did not exist in the market or design a new business model. However, this is most frequently unsuccessful. Imitation and innovation should go hand by hand. Completely imitating might result effective, but completely innovating is a failure because innovation is in general the activity of the industry leader. Nonetheless, imitating does not exclude innovation. It is over the basis of imitation and adaptation that a start-up can survive and can then gradually attempt small innovations.

At the imitation phase, the company’s costs are lower than the industry leader’s and that allows it to accumulate capital. Once there is some accumulated capital, it can try innovating. The small innovations will make it possible to accumulate an even greater amount of capital and pave the road for contention with the industry leader. The final phase comes then, when the company has breakthrough innovations and becomes itself the new industry leader.

A similar process occurs also on the personal level. We often want to innovate, but neglect the necessary process to arrive to such a stage. Therefore, next time we wished we could innovate without achieving it, we should remember to  imitate and adapt and innovations will not be far away from us.

模仿与创新相结合 – 景素奇