The Distinction Between Copying and Innovating

Copying is not cheating.

The other day Psychology Today asked the question, Does Copying Kill Creativity?

This is an important subject in regards to business blogging. People come to me and one of the things they want to make sure before partnering with GBW is that we provide 100% original content.

Yes. We do provide 100% original content.

Let me expand on the topic of copying, creativity and innovation.

Imitation and Innovation is Not Copying

The post you’re reading right now is imitation and innovation. I’m taking a post – an idea – found from another source and expanding on the topic with original thoughts and new thinking. This is one strategy we use often at GBW.

One of the most valuable forms of blogging we have found is taking recent news topics from an industry and providing unique point of view. Targeted readers want to know how to interpret certain news pieces and topics in an industry. At GBW, we feel it’s important for this type of blogging to be part of an overall content strategy.

What is really original these days anyway?

You’d be hard pressed to find things that are truly unique. Last year psychologist and researcher Malcolm Gladwell wrote a piece about Steve Jobs called The Tweaker.

Here is a quick excerpt:

Jobs was someone who took other people’s ideas and changed them. But he did not like it when the same thing was done to him. In his mind, what he did was special.

It was a really interesting revelation when reading the Jobs biography. As you read through the pages you realize that Jobs really wasn’t an original creator. I’m not sure there really is such a thing. What Jobs does and what every other inventor and creator out there does is take something that currently exists and makes it a little better.

We’re all improvers instead of inventors or creators. We aren’t really creating something completely new because there has always been someone before us creating and improving.

As bloggers and business blog owners we are all improvers. We’re looking to take the formats of successful blogs and create ways to improve those processes. We don’t necessarily copy things, but take concepts and look to improve them for the benefit of the people we are trying to reach.

I’m not sure “100% Original” is possible with blogging or with anything. What we’re trying to do here at GBW and with your businesses is to take things that already work and make them better. We’re looking at the way successful bloggers and blogging companies are reaching their customers. We’re taking the best of what those blogs are doing and improving on them.

The goal is to succeed in that goal, but it doesn’t always happen. We fail along the way, but over the long run I think we do a great job of improving on the content strategies that exist and we leave the blogging world and the business world of our clients in a better place than before we began the partnership.

There might not be something that can be “100% Original”, but we can achieve great things by offering 100% Improvement. That’s our goal at GBW. We don’t copy and paste articles and call it our own. We cite sources and inspiration. We give credit for ideas.

From there we innovate and improve.

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver

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