What do you think of when you think of innovation?
Do you picture a think tank of experts, crammed into a meeting room with Post-it notes on the wall, formulas on a white board, leftover pizza boxes strewn about, and crazy ideas flying back and forth?
When we think of innovation in that way, it can seem daunting. What if I go into a room to innovate and come out with nothing? How long will this take? How do I spend time on this while running my business?
The reality is that many innovations occur when we borrow and build upon what’s already there. What has come before. And we make it better. We find new uses for it. We slightly tinker with it to make it fit a brand new customer, market, or purpose.
I’m a huge fan of not reinventing the wheel. Like, ever. Sure, inventing something completely unheard of is amazing (iPhone, Tesla, ride sharing, anyone?).
But not all of us are wired this way. While, I’m rapid-fire white-space thinking and can come up with new, crazy ideas with the best of them, I am also someone who excels at reacting to something first and then finding all the ways to make it better. I’m also good at seeing what’s there and connecting the dots that no one else sees.
Are you like this?
If you are, cool. Embrace it. Understand that this is a skill and it makes you more efficient at adapting and evolving.
When there is no need to reinvent the wheel, don’t. Simply improve it. (TWEET THIS!)
A past marketing VP of mine used to call this “Stealing with pride.” Not quite plagiarism, but if you see a company or team doing something great, learn from it. Adapt it to your own purpose, voice, data. Don’t “rip it off” but build upon it.
In my inbox, lives a little folder called “Good Marketing Funnels.” This is where I save any email campaigns that resonate with me. Maybe I loved the brevity. Maybe the call to action was irresistible. Maybe I liked the way they wove the story across multiple emails.
Often, I use these as inspiration instead of starting from scratch. But I make them mine. And I make them even better.
Use your resources. Learn from those who’ve mastered things. See what others in your industry are doing. Not to make yourself feel bad or get jealous. But analyze the ideas that work, make them your own and make them better.
Consider it a more efficient way to innovate!