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Imitation vs Innovation

(Being Also an Homage to Hemingway and Trott)

When I was 14 I had a piece of my creative writing read out in class.

My classmates loved it.

Being painfully shy, I was both mortified and exhilarated.

But no one really knew that I had, effectively, ripped off Terry Pratchett’s ‘Death’ character from The Discworld Novels.

In my defence, I had written fresh material and the gags were mine, but I could have expected Mr Pratchett’s solicitors getting onto me if it had gone to print.

I took inspiration from Pratchett, imitated him, and furthered my school reputation off the back of his work.

I once sent some of my writings to my sister. She said: “Yeah, it’s really good, but I think you need an editor…”

Succinct and to the point is my sister in a way I am not.

In Late Roman Britain, the native Britons started to create crude, debased imitations of the Roman coinage.

Then the Romans left.

But the Britons liked the notion of currency. And from here, via many twists and turns, ultimately came the Pound.

Still one of the strongest currencies in the world, whilst the Lira is, well, gone.

Strong, long-lasting things can come out of imitation. Just do it better.

Be careful not to trespass on anyone’s intellectual property, mind. There is a line.

But too much is hung on innovation.

Innovation led to the creation of the electric car. And no one really enjoys driving one of them.

Everyone says they are ‘innovative’ but they all look the same. Sometimes things just need a tweak. A change in perception.

As the Norman Feudal lords settled in after the Conquest, they got tired of building strong, defensive castles.

There wasn’t much point anymore. So they started building lavish comfortable abodes, like Bodiam Castle.

With their large ground floor windows and doors, some archaeologists interpreted these castles as ‘weak’.

But they didn’t realise they are all about the strength of status.

It’s all about perception.

We have a lot more wealth and power than you. Don’t question our authority.

There was a recent change in Parody Law.

Humorous imitation.

It is now permissible to use copyright works for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche.

This has created a niche in advertising that I do not think is being explored fully.

That John Lewis penguin is ripe for parody.

Why not have your brand/company hitch a ride off the back of a hugely successful movie, TV show or even another brand?

That’s paroditory thinking.

Everyone says they are ‘innovative’ but they all look the same. Sometimes things just need a tweak. A change in perception.

 

 


 

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02/12/2014

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