Building on the Ideas of Others

The following is a guest post by Frances Bajet.

Creative Commons License photo credit: egenerica

True or false: George Lucas, Bill Gates, and Larry Page are the epitome of innovation, whose creations (Star Wars, Microsoft, and Google, respectively) represent the ultimate in original thinking.


If you got the answer correctly, you’re already one giant leap ahead of the competition. But if you find yourself wondering how you could be possibly wrong, you’re not alone. Many believe that such entrepreneurs launched their empires when an original idea struck them like lightning one day, but actually they built upon the ideas of others. George Lucas drew from religious and mythological themes from other cultures to create his epic movies; Gates’s idea for Microsoft was actually inspired by the prototype for the first Macintosh; while Page perfected the search engine traditionally used in library science.

Such fascinating examples abound in the provocative, timely new book, Borrowing Brilliance: the Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others. Author David Kord Murray, a former aerospace engineer and Fortune 500 executive, brings a practical approach to the subject of innovation, powerfully illustrating that creativity isn’t waiting for an idea to drop out of the sky, but searching for problems and existing materials to solve them. Using examples from today’s top entrepreneurs, Murray emphasizes that in order to innovate, one must also imitate. Plus, with the help of Murray’s stimulating six-step process, anyone can create their own brilliant ideas, too.

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