David Kord Murray, author of Borrowing Brilliance: Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others, wanted to “take the creative process out of the shadows of the subconscious mind and bring it into the conscious world.” According to Murray, in order to create, first you have to copy. He emphasizes on taking ideas from others that are relevant to how you would like to approach a business challenge.
In a way, Murray is a proponent of strategic exaptation—solving business challenges by utilizing solutions that have worked in other industries to solve similar problems. “You build your idea on a foundation of well-defined problems. Once defined, you borrow ideas from places with a comparable problem. You start close to home by borrowing from your competitors, then you venture farther by borrowing from other industries, and finally you travel outside of business and look for ideas with that problem in the scientific, entertainment, or artistic worlds,” Murray says. Thus, all ideas have evolved from the integration of other ideas.
The innovation industry is growing at a rapid pace and will soon transform every other industry that exists today. This is because innovation is more than a way to solve business problems. Innovation is a way to live. Isaac Newton said that in order to see farther he had to stand on the shoulder of giants. He built his ideas on the ones of others. Ideas also evolve over time, based on the theory of the slow hunch. Murray describes how the rock incepted an evolution that resulted in creating the modern automobile. A Neanderthal dislodged a rock and watched as it rolled down the slope. Then another Neanderthal chiseled a smaller one made out of wood. Then another one copied a rock wheel by creating a wheel barrow. Then another used it to make a cart to haul the carcass of a tiger. This then evolved into a chariot, then a carriage. The horse carriage evolved into a steam engine which then of course evolved into the automobile. Each idea one built on the other one. Borrowing ideas, then, can be a lucrative process in creating your innovation platform. Just think of your ideas like a protean cloud or a liquid network that continues to grow and transforms into what you need in order to overcome your challenges.
We are in a critical evolutionary step in human history. We have more tools are our disposal than ever before. There is more information available to one person today than there has been in a lifetime to someone that was living in the 1950s. Information has become a commodity. Creative workers will shape not only the future of business but the future of the world. Product lifecycles are becoming shorter and shorter. Consumers are getting smarter and smarter. This is why you must continue to grow your cloud and leverage you experience while focusing on how you wish to apply your talents to change the world in a meaningful way. Innovation can no longer be outsourced. Innovation needs to be embedded in every facet of your organization and within your identity. As Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation remarks:
Tricks from the designer’s toolkit—user observations, brainstorming, prototyping, storytelling, and scenario building—are invaluable in building an innovation capability, but taken by themselves they are rarely sufficient. Over time, and after countless experiences with organizations throughout the world, we have learned that innovation has to be coded into the DNA of a company if there is to be large-scale, long-term impact.
Innovation is the new the organizational priority. Gaining consensus on this must be every firm’s job priority. Innovation is the new business department. These positions didn’t exist a few years ago—this is because of the rise of the conceptual age. We are pattern recognizers and you’ve got to surf this wave and not drown. Bring creativity into the conscious world. Embrace the fact that brilliance is borrowed. In order to create you still have to copy but you’ll learn how to take control instead of just waiting for ideas—it’s about repurposing your content in a way that helps you achieve your goals. This process, in itself, has been evolved from various models of innovation. But no matter what process intrigues you, the principles tend to remain the same. This process is something that anyone can use to build business innovation:
1) Defining – Define the problem that you’re trying to solve.
2) Identify and Analyze Needs
3) Examine current solutions (if any) Borrowing – Borrow ideas from places with a similar problem—this also pivots into the next step, which is idea integration.
4) Integration (combine and optimize current solutions)
5) Brainstorm Improvement: Efficiency, Durability, Strength, Intelligence
7) Incubate—the combinations to incubate into a solution.
8) Produce – Identify the strength and weakness of the solution, then produce it.
9) Collaboration and Market Research
10) Amplification and Optimization Eliminate the weak points while enhancing the strong ones. (Refine Blueprint)