Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Following on from my last post about having ideas, I have recently learnt that a former client has taken an idea that I developed and is now promoting and running it themselves.  This is not the first time that this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. You see, they aren’t doing anything illegal. Our view on whether it is morally acceptable is a different thing!

The issue I have is that the event is clearly exactly the same as we did but with a minor change to the name and a large part of me is a bit narked that my brilliant idea has been swiped. The other part of me is somewhat chuffed that the idea has been nicked and is being repeated and it’s credit to the idea itself and how we previously successfully implemented it that it is being run again.

When we are brought in as consultants, this is exactly what we do – come up with ideas to meet a need, whether it’s market need or a practical problem. So, if we are doing our job properly, we should hope that our clients do take our ideas on for themselves.

And now I find myself in a quandary because when I come up with ideas, I believe in them. Admittedly, they are often ambitious and complex and a little bit challenging, but I know we can make it happen and how, which means that our hearts and souls are invested in meeting and exceeding expectations.  So when a client decides that they don’t need us anymore, there’s a little bit of hurt mixed with the pride that they have developed the skills and capacity, with our help, to make their ambitions a reality.

The implication of this is that we have to keep on developing those ideas and increasing our value, not to the same clients so that they keep using us (although that is lovely and we enjoy working with them), but so that we evolve and develop our market on an ongoing basis. The challenge is therefore to me and all of our team to fuel our creativity and keep pushing our boundaries to continue to come up with brilliant ideas.

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky


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