Ever experienced a situation where someone copied from you in class and somehow had a better score than you?

Well, it’s simple. The person took the information from you; alright! But he/she was able to make it better than yours (the originator). This happens all the time in the real world. People feed off ideas from others, mould it, add a few tweaks here and there, make it theirs, and take the glory for it.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is legal and a sign of creative thinking.

Here’s introducing the concept of ‘creative imitation

Creative imitation is simply a strategy that involves imitating something that already exists and adding value to it. A creative imitator is able to foresee better than the original creator; add his/her input into an existing product, service or idea and make it even better.

Here are some scenarios where creative imitation can take place:

  • A footballer can imitate a skill from someone/somewhere and make it even more entertaining and it becomes his/her trade-mark. For instance, most Brazilian footballers get their skillful inspiration from the samba dance.
  • The remix or cover of a song can sound better and become more popular than the original.
  • A writer can write an article or essay based on numerous sources and reference materials and win accolades for his/her effort.
  • An entrepreneur can take a business idea, fix its loopholes and blossom better than the originators.

The list is endless!

Let’s look at a typical case study of creative imitation

Traditional Taxi System vs UBER

The Taxi system has been in existence for a very long time. All one had to do was to get to the road side, and with the wave of an arm, you stop a cab. And depending on the city you live in, this might take between 1 minute to 30 minutes. There was a loophole in this system though; not only was it quite difficult to locate a taxi in an unfamiliar city, people wanted things done fast and the traditional taxi system could no longer meet up.

Well, UBER came on the scene and made this service even easier and faster. Now, you don’t have to step out of your house. With the aid of a smartphone, you can get a ride at your doorstep in minutes without breaking a sweat. Creative Imitation!

Now, Here are some ways you can master the art of creative imitation

Surround yourself with intelligent, driven people

The quality of your circle of friends matter a lot. It is important that you create an environment where innovative ideas can be discussed and shared. A lot of creative ideas were birthed as a result of being with the right people, at the right place, at the right time.

Spot out loopholes

I once worked in an organization where I was nicknamed ‘error detector’.  Creative imitation basically stems from one’s ability to spot out a loophole in an original idea, product or service.

Proffer Solutions

Fishing out loopholes is one thing, proffering lasting solutions to that flaw is a different ball-game altogether. This involves critical analysis and innovative thinking.


You can make sense out of every nonsense. Imbibe the ability to listen to other people talk. I benefit from this all the time. Via talking, you can give me an idea/tool for my next project without even knowing it. All I have to do is smile and nod my head.

Here are some prominent quotes on ‘creative imitation’

‘Always improve on something that exists’ – Alex Mandossian

‘Talent Borrows, genius steals’ – Oscar Wilde

Bottom Line

Be a copy cat!

READ ALSO: How To Become a Top-Notch Content Writer

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Pst.. Kester Crownwell

    A wonderful and thought provoking write up.

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