Tonight I was faced with the question about what is innovation and what is change. To be honest, I would have said that if you are making something, then you are innovating. But, the harsh truth is that just because you are making something, does not mean you are innovating. I watch a lot of my colleagues in this industry make videos talking about innovation and being on the forefront of innovation. So when I sit there and watch these videos, it gives me a sense that they know what they are talking about. I mean, if someone goes out of their way to make a video, talking about how much they are innovating products, you should believe them right?
We have this perception that if it’s publicized, it must be true. And if they have this product, it must be unique. But I have come to realize that if you just step back, and analyze what it is they are actually making, you just might realize that it's just the same product someone else has already made.
The point of making or remaking a product is if it is not working, then figuring out the methods to improve it and make it better. Why go through all the trouble to sit down, spend the time and money, to just end up in the same place as the current product? Makes no sense to me. Years ago, I found myself trying to improve on a product, a colleague of mine in the industry suggested that we make a certain product as a solution. So, what I thought was going to be an improvement, turned out that he only made the exact same product and called it his own. To make things worse, he kept on copying more of the products that already existed out there, and called them his as well. This is the issue I have with this, there is a fine line between change and innovation.
The word Innovation is the idea of something new, or the way something has been done and made new. Change is simply taking something that is there, and just altering it so it looks different. If you copy the idea of something, then you are only creating change, you are not innovating. Sure you can change around some features or specs of the product, but you are still only creating change. Now, innovation is the idea that an idea works somewhat ok, but if we change the way it works, it will work so much better. That is using your mind and your talent. Designing something that alters the way it all works for the better. Thinking outside the box is what innovation is about, copying what's still in the box, that's only just change. Change of color, logo engraving, etc.
One of the biggest personal issues I face is others copying what I make. It took some time to realize that if you are making what I make, then you are already 2 steps behind me. I found solitude in that realization. I found I can be grateful that if others are watching what I do, I must be doing something right. The hours upon hours that I spend learning and researching go into everything I do, and if you like, you can try and replicate it. I am actually flattered. Actually, a lot of people close to me find that I am very open to talk about a lot of things. I’ve never felt the need to hide what I’ve learned, I mean, how did you ever come to learn what you know in your life? Were you born with that information? No, you simply learned it from someone who trusted you with it, or you read it. It’s that simple. This is what we call the circle of life, right? You don’t think about an idea unless you see an idea of course. It’s just how it happens. I mean, how else would I come up with something different if I did not see what is current?
My point being, if you want to take all the time you have and create something, then why not figure out a way to make it better? If I can log onto your website, and see that 75% or more of your site is already made by other companies, then you are not an innovator. You are simply a place that sees what is selling now, but not what is needed. Maybe you just have bills to pay, and making what others are making seems to be the right thing to do. Then I wish you the best.