Oiginal versus innovation

The idea for all product builders is to build something unique, something that influences. These two do not necessarily follow each other in that order. Most of the apparently innovative things that we see today are not original at all. In a lot of ways, what we deem to be innovation is usually an exceptional integration of previously known well-tested ideas. This can be seen in so many of the products that we use today, be it what apple produces or even the cars that we drive. Truly novel ideas tend to be produced in isolation, and lack that adaptability which is so attractive in innovative ideas.

The attraction of builders to original ideas is very well documented in history, we had the Tesla versus Edison where it is highly evident that originality may actually be more of a curse than a boon. Nobody can take away anything from Edison’s achievements, though what is over-estimated is his originality and under-estimated is his marketing capability. Like every successful entrepreneur, Edison managed to keep a 360 degree view of what he wanted to build. That seems to differenciate a whole host of successful entrepreneurs from the many others we do not hear about.

If you are a builder, it is very important to see how the incremental approach to innovation eventually produces results that look like original creations. This was the case with Einstien who tied together already existing novel thoughts into a theory that changed physics. Ultimately, we end up building things that serve a particular use case.

The idea is not to force originality and for that matter innovation, it comes down to solving a problem or understanding something fundamentally better. If elegance is something that can be afforded in the context then it can look pretty. Innovation is basically incrementally getting closer to a problem by using known paradigms, making it something we can adopt and utilize as it deviates very little from our current understanding of our surroundings ! Being original however may expose you to adoption issues, that over time will erode away.

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