Why Idea Theft Doesn’t Work
Innovative ideas that create significant change or disruption to an industry are few and far between.
It’s no wonder that many people go to great lengths to get insider information about the ideas and strategies that surround the latest “success stories”. I think that this is totally natural to do. Why not? There’s a lot we can learn from companies and organizations that share the same market space with our own endeavors.
Unfortunately, some are trying way too hard to steal ideas under the guise of learning. This is faulty thinking when it comes to idea-making. Here’s why (apart from legal ramifications):
- It’s not the idea. It’s the execution. Too many people get distracted by the idea and overlook the hard work of execution that allows ideas to flourish into reality. You can copy or steal an idea, but without proper execution, it’s not going to have legs. You may impress some with your “new” idea, but it probably won’t make it beyond the initial excitement. Think about all the companies that wanted to be the next ________. Exactly.
- It’s not the idea. It’s the people involved. The reason why some ideas scale and others don’t is because of the people involved in execution. It’s one thing to emulate an idea, but it’s another thing to emulate a person and their unique set of life experiences and network. Many of the successful ideas that we recognize in our world were built upon a lifetime of experience of team members. The unique mix of the people involved is impossible to replicate in a new endeavor.
- It’s not the idea. It’s the context. Ideas don’t live in a vacuum. There are so many other variables to the success of an idea. Things like timing, funding, technology, and network all play a vital role to the success of any idea. It’s no wonder that no two ideas are alike. Be sure to pay attention to context as much as the idea itself.
All this to say…go ahead and learn from the successes of others, but never assume that stealing an idea will allow you to experience what they have with their idea.