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Innovation is essential in the world of comms. The search is always on for a new way to get messages across. But why waste time trying to dream up something original when there are so many great ideas you can just…er, copy?

June's InsideOut (the FREE magazine for IoIC members) talks to Mark Earls, author of HERD, about his new book called Copy, Copy, Copy.

He points out William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Elvis Presley and Steve Jobs have all done it. Copying has a bad name in our novelty-obsessed culture, but all these successful innovators actually took other people’s ideas and ran with them.

And Mark says copying is even more useful in today’s fast-paced world.

“If you want to do strategy in the modern world, you have to do it faster than you ever did before,” he says. “Copying presents a wonderful hack for that.”

However, he warns you have to know your business and the best copying involves a bit of change, or a twist.

He cites Professor Martin Elliott of Great Ormond Street Hospital who revolutionised heart surgery practice by copying from Formula One pit teams and explains: “Copying well means copying and creating an error. It’s not a perfect replication. You create an error and it becomes yours.

“You have to adapt the idea, otherwise you get replication, which I call Single, White Female copying. Remember the film about one woman copying every aspect of another’s life? It feels weird when someone copies you that closely.”

For more on copying the right way IoIC members can read the June issue of InsideOut - just log in at the top right of this screen. You’ll then find InsideOut in ‘IoIC Knows’ – simply click on ‘Publications’ in the drop-down menu.
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