Is your Idea based on something original?

I was recently introduced to a great band called Mumford & Sons. They sing an interesting song called ‘The Cave’. The scenes of the video that accompanies the song uses themes and content from two famous bands of old: The Beatles (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) and The WHO (Quadrophenia).  The video continues with a connection between the new band and the old

I am also reading a book called ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip & Dan Heath. The books discusses how to make ideas stick, and how some ideas stick more than others.

The fascinating thing about both the song and the book, is that a great idea does not need to be an absolute original. The Heath brothers discuss the meaning of experience, that it is solely based on the past, and restricts us in our creativity and innovation. Yet as business people, when we pitch for a job, we find experience is quite high up on the list of importance for a potential client. So we mostly do well because of our invaluable ‘experience’ in that area of business.

Then my question becomes: Which is more important, experience or new?

We probably mostly agree that experience is based on the past, therefore when someone comes up with a new idea, if you strip it down, it will be based tightly or loosely on something already created. Like inventing a new type of vacuum cleaner, or an innovative ‘green’ car. The Heath lads give examples of selling high concept movie ideas based on existing great movies, such as Alien being “Jaws on a Spaceship” or Speed being “Die Hard on a bus

Building blocks are used in our unconscious to always ‘invent’ or create something based on the information that we already have. But that is not NEW, is it? What does new and innovative mean? I would suggest that we customise to suit our clients, so they feel special, and have had a product/service created especially for them. I would also suggest that some clients want something that has been proved through the test of time. So we are back to the ‘experience’ and the ‘known’.

It takes great courage to clear the mind, put the building blocks aside, be childlike, and work extra hard to think of something original to deliver for a client (you know those 20% that we work 80% of the time for?)

But are they worth it? Would love to hear your thoughts below…

P.S [Link to: ‘The Cave’ link to: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heatrts Club Band and link to: Quadrophenia]

2 thoughts on “Is your Idea based on something original?

  • June 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Hi!. I applaud the blog I voted for, because I feel quite substantiated with this issue. It is true that sometimes, we, in our lives, have an original idea, which will be always the best to step us forward and higher, but it is no less true that in other cases we base our “new idea” in a previous one. History is full of cases, and so is sciencie. The major problem is that we realize all this when we got certain “age”. (and a bit of curiosity or anxiousness “to know”). In my case, when I reached over 55, it became clear to me something related to religion. I can not make this comment too long, but essentialy, what I “found” or “discovered” looking to clarify my doubts about my religion (catholic), was that science and big-bang helped me to go on. To end, I only regret that this came to my life in an age where my parents were already gone!. Rudi Gingele

    • June 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Rudi,
      Thanks so much for reading the blog and sharing your thoughts – you are truly a man of the world and are learned and well travelled. Is it for this we shouldn’t doubt ourselves, and go ahead whether an idea is based on previous know how or not? If we have “re-hashed it” in our minds, then surely it has evolved somewhat, and become “new”. I bet you have relied on the experience of others throughout your life so far, but look at the choices you made, they are unique to you and your family, and have created opportunities, hardships and life experiences. As long as we never stop learning my friend…

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