Reinventing the wheel is hard, because the wheel is a pretty nice product. Ndubuisi Ekekwe argues in a post at the Harvard Business Review that when innovation is not coming, you might as well just copy what is already working.
Just a Quick Palette Swap
Innovation is a word that comes with a lot of reverence, but people seldom celebrate a copycat. Yet copying is a fundamental part of most major businesses’ success, even and especially including Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Ekekwe says that the German brothers Marc, Alexander, and Oliver Samwer have amassed over a billion dollars from copying web companies like Pinterest and Groupon and applying it for a European audience. The only real differences between them tend to be “the color, the text, the photos.” Copying may not bring you glory, but it can still bring you a whole lot of profit when done thoughtfully and lawfully. You can read more of Ekekwe’s ideas here: http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/05/when-you-cant-innovate-copy/