Imitation Leads to Innovation


Imitation is the best form of flattery, and it may help you innovate too.

A recent study by Indiana University found that the environments that inspire innovation often include imitation, transparency, and a diverse team. Researchers say imitators will find variations on a good idea, leading to better solutions.

As TechCrunch’s Gregory Ferenstein reported, “Imitation is never identical and the micro-experiments help increase the possibilities explored, ultimately leading to better performance.”

The researchers concluded that when a group shares their solutions to a problem, there is less random “scrounging” for answers. Transparency within a group also lets members avoid repeating mistakes.

Next time you’re trying to think of the next big thing, build off of established ideas to make your ideas go even further. Don’t worry about the copycats either—they help you improve.

For more info on collaborative innovation and propelling your ideas from good to better, read “Revolutionizing the Innovation Experience” in the Winter 2014 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine. The article highlights the Marriott School’s Crocker Innovation Fellowship, which involves students from various disciplines in exploring innovation through study and application.