Copycat Innovation: A 7-Step Process That Minimizes Risk and Optimizes Success

Business surveys by reputable organizations like IBM, Boston Consulting Group, PwC and others inevitably come to the same conclusion that innovation is critical to business growth and profits. However, only 4% of CEOs have implemented an innovation system for their organization. They hesitate to adopt innovation due to failure and uncertainty.

In the last three global studies of IBM CEOs, CEOs consistently said that coping with change was their most pressing challenge. In the 2010 IBM CEO Study, CEOs stated that creativity is the most important leadership attribute. The most creative business leaders have an innovation system. However, innovation carries high risk and compromises company resources such as money, time, logistics, and possibly expensive equipment.

These CEOs are constantly looking for a less risky way. Now, the look is over. The solution is Copycat Innovation.

What is Copycat Innovation?

Copycat Innovation is about adapting a proven solution to spark innovation, thereby minimizing risk and optimizing success. In short, it’s about taking what works best and making it better.

Copycat Innovation is not about a large scale imitation of an existing product, service or process. Creativity and innovation are required. It has a structured methodology.

Copycat Innovation does not dispute copyright. Nor does it imply patent infringement. Copycat Innovation builds on previous R&D and involves borrowing and developing existing products, services, marketing systems and technologies to create a competitive niche in the market.

By applying a 7-step Copycat Innovation process, you can eliminate the fears and frustrations of minimizing risk and optimizing success by making what works well even better.

Why Copycat innovation?

Coming up with ‘groundbreaking ideas’ and ‘brand new’ innovations is both tempting and glamorous. After all, success could mean market dominance. However, such a strategy carries great risks. In addition, it usually requires massive efforts and resources. It is an activity that is complex, expensive and very often shows very little promise of return on investment. Work on the successor to the successful product must begin immediately. This means that the budget for successive research must be higher and higher than the original innovation. Examples of this approach are Intel, 3M, and P&G.

With globalization and the advent of the Internet, there is a new, easier, simpler and more proven way to minimize risk and optimize success. This path is called “Copycat Innovation”. Examples of this approach are Apple in the development of the iPod, iPhone and iPad series of products, Samsung’s business strategy and banking.

The fact is that this approach is not new. It has been carried out by countless successful companies and organizations. But no one had given it a generic name until now. After conducting extensive research, I called this approach Copycat Innovation and have developed a 7-step methodology for Copycat Innovation, a methodology that harnesses the incredible power of the global brain through the Internet.

In short, Copycat Innovation probably offers the best approach for your organization to maintain and increase its competitiveness and strategic positioning in the market because it is:

* Easy to implement

* Low risk as you are adapting or refining a proven solution

* Low cost, as the research and development work has already been done for you

* Requires far fewer resources, including people, time, money, and efforts

* A fast track to marketing

* It is legal and ethical

Examples of Copycat Innovation

* Apple: Apple launched the iPad in 2010 by refining and adapting technologies from many sources. For example, Microsoft built the first tablet computer in 2001. MIT created touch screen technologies and hand motion systems to turn pages or move screens. Of course, Apple also introduces many innovations on the iPad.

* Samsung: Samsung founder Lee Kun-hee’s formula of being first to market with a knock-off product when there is a new opportunity has helped make Samsung a top global brand over the past decade, with a market value of $143 billion. larger than Intel and Hewlett Packard and equal to the combined value of Sony Corp, Nokia, Toshiba and Panasonic Corp. This is because being an original innovator and creating a new market requires a lot of risk and takes a long time to achieve profitable results.

* Franchises: The franchise is a systematic form of Copycat Innovation. According to statistics from the United States Chamber of Commerce, franchised businesses have a 97% success rate within 5 years of opening, while non-franchise businesses have a comparatively low 48% success rate. % in their first 6 years.

* McDonalds: White Castle founders Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram are widely credited with inventing both the hamburger and fast food businesses. However, its copycat follower McDonalds, the world’s largest fast food chain, through its marketing innovation achieves much greater success in its hamburger fast food business.

The 7-step methodology to imitate innovation

The 7-step process for Copycat Innovation that delivers accelerated innovation based on measurable results (KPIs) by harnessing the incredible power of the global brain is as follows:

1. Identify the core problem;

2. Taking Michelangelo’s approach;

3. Improve the best;

4. Innovating the wheel;

5. Copycat innovation sale;

6. Implementation of Copycat Innovation;

7. Recognition and Celebration.


Fastcompany and Businessweek magazine have recognized Apple as the most innovative company in the world. He is also probably the most proficient impersonator in the world. Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, openly admitted as much during one of his presentations. He said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal. And we’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

In his highly-reviewed new book, “Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge,” published by Harvard Business Publishing, Professor Oded Shenkar cited a study over a period from 1948 to 2001 that found that 97.8% of the value of innovation goes to the imitators! He calls it imovation (Imitation+innovation), which is exactly what Copycat Innovation is all about.