GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer
You’ve no doubt heard—and perhaps used—the expression: Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Or another overused cliché: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Both get injected into conversations and ideation sessions to reject ideas perceived to be redundant or weak, and both are profoundly bad advice.
We had automobiles before Henry Ford and computers before Steve Jobs. Mobile phones before the iPhone, cabs before Uber, hotels before AirBnB, and electric cars before Tesla. Reinventing wheels can be very lucrative! Fixing things that aren’t broken is a pretty good summary of what innovation does.
This is so true that when startup founders seek investors, a common strategy is to describe their venture as the Uber of “X” or the AirBnB of “Y”. That’s shorthand for: We’re taking a proven business concept and applying it in a different context. Skilled ideation facilitators and idea management platforms encourage folks to build on each other’s ideas.
So don’t let anyone tell you, you have a bad idea just because they’ve heard it before. That may be one of its strengths! Especially when those ideas have proven successful. There’s nothing wrong with finding inspiration in current technologies and practices. Perhaps by applying it in some new way. The best innovators make a habit of it.
So, go reinvent some wheels!
For those of you who prefer, here is a video version of this post:
Image Credit: Pexels
Sign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.