Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Larry the Cable GuyLast week while in Vegas, I saw Larry the Cable Guy off in the distance.

I expected everyone in the room to be flocking to him. Although a few people went up to get their picture taken with him, he was pretty much left alone. I decided to go over and talk with him. I quickly discovered that he is the Las Vegas Larry. In other words, an impersonator. He looks a lot like him and sounds exactly like him. But he is not the real deal.

I’m certain that if the real Larry the Cable Guy were in that bar, people would have been flocking to him.

This got me thinking.

I’ve seen cover bands perform that are extremely talented, sounding indistinguishable from the original band. And in some cases, they sound better.

If the original band were playing, thousands would be gathered to listen and would be screaming on the top of their lungs.

But with these cover bands, although they are great musicians, the audiences are quite small and not very enthusiastic.

What is it about the “real deal” that interests people so much?

I believe that people want to hear directly from the source.

When listening to a band, it is not as much about the performance itself, as the fact that the performers are the source of the music.

An impersonator is not the creator.

A replica of master’s painting may be indistinguishable from the original by most people, but the copy is largely ignored. You never find a replica in a museum.

As human beings, we have a strong desire to be connected to the source; the originator of the material we consume.

With everything you do, look to be the source. Look to be original. Be a creator. A replica may be equally good, but it is rarely as desirable.

If you are a professional speaker, use only original material. Avoid quoting other people too often. Make yourself the source of the content. Be original. You want other people to quote you.

If you have a job working for a company, be the source. Be the one who creates new content and new concepts. Although it might not be immediately appreciated, this will eventually distinguish you from everyone else in the company.

The same is true for innovation. If you offer a copycat product, people will typically only buy from you if your price is low. You will attract bargain shoppers. The true innovators, the source of new ideas, are the ones who command higher prices, get long-term loyalty, and attract fanatical followers.

It’s easy to replicate what others are doing. It is more difficult to be original.

What are you doing today to be original? What are you doing to be a creator? What are you doing to be the source?

  1. Most innovations are actually remixes of what already exists though. Very little is truly new and innovative. I mean Apple are regarded as highly innovative, and yet there isn’t much that they do that hasn’t been done before.

  2. Adi, you are so correct. Innovation is often about adapting what others have done. Even with music, there are few originators. The Rolling Stones did not invent rock and roll; they just made it better and were the source of the improvements. I am not saying be the first to create a concept. There is a difference between innovation and invention. Equally there is a difference between innovation and replication. Impersonators typically avoid making any improvements to the original. Apple, even though it might not be the originator of a concept (the iPod was certainly not the first mp3 player), it has improved the concepts sufficiently for them to be viewed as the source. Thanks for contributing! Stephen

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