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Innovate or Imitate, which is the easier?

I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase, “if you can’t innovate then imitate”, so I thought I would look a little deeper into this concept.

How similar are these two concepts?

Let’s take the words unilaterally


(English Cambridge) to introduce changes and new ideas

New ideas and changes, so coming up with new ideas isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do is it?

I’m sure there are garages and storage units around the world full of newly invented newly created ideas that turned out to be not “overly attractive” to the marketplace, so is it that easy?

Introducing change, we see plenty of examples of that in our daily lives personally and professionally, however again as we know they aren’t always changes for the best, and the outcome of these changes can be anything ranging from traumatic to disastrous.

So maybe to innovate isn’t that easy after all.


(English Cambridge) to behave in a similar way to someone or something else, or to copy the speech or behaviour, etc. of someone or something:

So to imitate is to copy or plagiarism or something in-between, but again how easy is it to just copy something, the recommendation is always copy the best, however they are the best for a reason and maybe because of that to copy them is rather a challenge?

Allow me to give a personal example of this, when I wore a younger mans sportswear I decided that I would become a Professional Tennis Coach, my strategy was quite simple, copy the best players in the world win a few tournaments then hey presto become the in demand coach.

Firstly I tried to copy John McEnroe, this was a tough call for a few reasons,

  1. He was the best in the world at the time, so he could really play. ( I couldn’t)

  2. He was left handed ( I’m right handed)

  3. He had a mad temperament, fulled by his passion (bingo)

So I had no link to numbers 1 or 2 but I did share number three with him, so i decided to adjust my target and copy Boris Becker at least he was right handed, so was I, and he was famous for diving around the court, so I looked a little closer, I found similar challenges.

  1. He was also on his way to being the best in the world (that’s me out once again)

  2. He loved to dive for every ball. (Bingo i can do that)

  3. He was incredibly powerful. (Hmm maybe not my biggest strength.)

  4. His mentality was unbreakable (Bingo again)

So it become apparent that even imitation was also an incredibly difficult concept.

Sadly I never became a Professional tennis coach but I did use the few similarities from both John McEnroe and Boris Becker to help me in my chosen career of sales, which I managed to utilise very well to my advantage.

I guess the point of this is Innovation or Imitation, it can only work if it is based on the absolute best, creating a mediocre version of anything will not bring you success.

Becoming a watered down copy of anything or anybody will equally, not bring you any success.

So what is the answer.

At Vos Consultants we are often called in by Companies to deal with certain challenges, ideally to overcome them and move away from them, so our method is based on a combination of both innovation and imitation, we know from our worldwide exposure and experience what are todays challenges, equally we know what are todays best practices.

Combined with our award winning training and also my own personal experiences of not becoming the worlds leading Tennis Coach we are comfortable that we are able to deliver solutions and improve situations.

If you think we can help, please let me know


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