Following In Other People's Footsteps This Christmas

Good King Wenceslas has always been a popular carol for me for the simple reasons of the audience participation ...

We can and do apply this all the time in business. Every time we’re following best practice, apply accredited standards we’re treading in proven footsteps and for things like routine processes, it makes perfect sense.

"We take our teams and our collaborators along with us too!"

We know that our own processes, and that of our whole supply chain, is only as fast as its slowest member so it pays to help them quicken their pace, but what about when we innovate and deliver something new?

On the plus side, it’s easier to follow someone else’s lead and go with what is already proving to be successful. They’ve invested in the R&D, tested the market, made the mistakes and shown the way to go. The downside is that you’re on catch up, they may corner the market and make your services obsolete before you get the chance to get your version on sale. Not quite what this story had in mind,

What if you are the person making the innovation though? An observation around new ideas and innovations is that the first one to market isn’t always the most successful. Your imitators can take advantage of your R&D investments and early teething troubles and leapfrog your ideas.

That's why we have IPR laws and patents but these don’t always protect us from others coming up from behind, tweaking your idea enough to get around those legalities.

My tip, which would make the saintly and good King Wenceslas wince, is to prevent others from taking advantage of your cleared path. Be brave if you’re going to innovate. Go for the big idea and lengthen your stride so that your smaller competitors cannot keep up. Even better, take a giant leap that leaves even your bigger rivals floundering in the snow.

Happy Christmas and may all your ideas become reality in the New Year!


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