What happens when your idea is stolen?
You have an idea. Your great, wonderful idea which is the best thing anyone has heard in years or centuries… As many other innovators, you explain your idea to your friends, colleagues or superiors trying to get funding or valuable feedback. But then, weeks or months later, you found out that someone realized your idea without your permission.
There are so many similar stories and the point is that often you can’t do much except to feel miserable and helpless.
But (on the other hand), why would anyone steal an idea in the first place?
First, we need to know that we are not all innovators and that some people are just better in finding new ideas/projects while others are struggling with their creativity and can only copy or steal (or do nothing).
Next, is it really a good idea to take someone’s idea?
A stolen idea is a closed box. The “idea-thief” doesn’t know that there may be some other related ideas behind it. What could be the next features? Which combinations can be done with other sectors of market? Also, the innovator was in some state-of-mind when the idea was born and she can recall this memory (or at least try to recall it) and sometimes continue in the same direction as during the time of idea generation. The “idea-thief” can’t have this possibility. Also, the innovator knows how this idea could grow and how the next project might be built upon this idea.
The thief or copycat will never find out all of the ideas that might come after and the stolen idea often remains in the shape it had at the beginning without any new valuable additions. Finally, an “idea-thief” can never know all future features of the original idea that the innovator already has in his head (or in her notebook).
So, if your idea is stolen, you still have a chance to make a better project/product than the thief.
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Tomislav Buljubasic is innovation manager and writer interested in creativity and innovation process. He runs 7innovation.net. Follow @buljubasict