There are no original ideas

Here’s a random thought from up in the clouds: There are no original ideas. Only new combinations of old ideas.

Innovation then, that buzz words that everyone loves talking about, is about taking existing products, services and ideas and putting your unique spin on them.

(I’ll just let that soak in for a second and give you a chance to pick your jaw up off the floor)

This can only be good news. It relieves the pressure of thinking we have to create the next Facebook (which was a better version of Myspace by the way) or invent something as revolutionary as the internet.  

Instead, we get to be more like Homer, thrashing around and experimenting with our own spin on existing ideas and products:

Of course, this assertion is not my own. It’s not a unique perspective I came up with because I’m saaa gen-y, #innovative and #disruptive. Rather, it’s something I borrowed from the book Steal Like An Artist.

This book is incredible and you simply must read it. Don’t worry, it’s small, has lots of pictures and can easily be read in a couple of hours.

It suggests that the best creatives and artists look at the world through the following lens:

“first you figure out what’s worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing.”

That is to say, successful creatives do as the title suggests and steal ideas, put their spin on them, and release them into the world.

It sounds so simple, and it kinda is. But it also fundamentally shifts the common narrative of ideation and innovation.  

It eliminates this idea that “I’m just not that innovative” or “I don’t have any original ideas”. Instead, it takes the posture that everyone has a unique voice. Everyone is capable of stealing (just ask poor old Gladys running the local Milk Bar). ‘Being creative’ then, is something we’re all capable of. It’s the easy part. We just have to show up and ask “what can I steal from today?”