There has been a ton of talk on the interwebs lately about the “stealing” of work & ideas...at least in the entrepreneurial circle. I think it’s really important that the conversation around this topic opens up, especially for you creative entrepreneurs who design your own products.
Firstly, I’d like to see if we agree on two statements:
1. There are really no new ideas.
2. The greatest thing about being a creative is that we can draw inspiration from anyone & anything.
Let’s just take the first, because I can definitely see how that could raise a few eyebrows. I honestly believe that every new concept is a re-imagined, evolved iteration of a past idea. Now before you freak out, this is not me saying it’s OK to go out and copy someone else’s business model and call it your own. But if we look closer at the perception of originality, we can see that at its core, it is just a fresh twist on an existing perspective that hits the right people at the right time.
Now, let’s talk about our creative minds. My brain thrives on bright colors, black and white photography, modern & rustic design, shiny things, ikat & watercolor prints, beautiful typography, smart & well-spoken people, open minds, nature, and about a million other things. In other words, I’m easily influenced. I prefer to think that’s a good thing. My mind is always open, always looking, and quick to absorb. I think that every creative mind is like this; save for a different list of influences. This is as it should be.
With all this amazing knowledge, it can be really easy to unintentionally (or intentionally) make other people’s genius into your own personal flash of brilliance.
So the question becomes, how can we filter all this fantastic inspiration into an individual statement of creativity?
- Focus on the concept, not the content. More often than not, ideas and products work because of the way they are put into action. This can be anything from marketing strategy, to packaging, to production elements. What makes it unique makes it work.
- Ask yourself what makes the “influence” memorable. Is it the idea itself or the person executing it? Is it the product or the mission behind it? Are you just always attracted to anything orange, or vintage, or boldly patterned, or_____? Look underneath the surface a little bit to see what’s really drawing you in.
These are two starting points, but I’m really interested in what you have to say. Have you ever been through either side of the “stealing” experience? How do you filter all the great creativity in your world every day? Besides Pinterest, of course...let me know!
Megan Gallagher is a small-business strategist working with creative indiepreneurs at Method & Madness. She talks business development, creative vision, and indie lifestyle through one-on-one strategy sessions, e-guides, and the Method & Madness blog.
Main image courtesy of zigazou76