Thoughts on Innovation


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This came up recently on Facebook when a friend was commenting on people using other people’s ideas. Though this is not a new topic in the community by any means, having gone through my own evolutionary process around it, I decided to share these thoughts.

First, just because someone originated an idea doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it. For example, look at the Android — way successful — and yet a copy of the iPhone to some degree. There are those who contend that the copy is actually better than the original because it improves on what was done in the iPhone and makes it slicker.

Second, if you do a move/pattern/trick/sequence/combo and then I do the move after I’ve seen you do it, is that copying? Or is that me putting my own spin on the move and personalizing it for myself?

Anyone can flow; only you can flow like you.

It is, IMO, not enlightened for us to shrink back when others re-engineer what we have done, take it for themselves and re-purpose it. It may feel bad to our ego because we feel/felt special as the “innovator” of that thing, but it doesn’t help us to contract; it doesn’t help the art form to not share; and it does not allow true flow to emerge in the community.

I say this as an instructor, artist and entrepreneur who has had people “steal” my methodology/ideas/moves/choreography/etc. Know what? No one can ever deliver my ideas in my way — even my trained instructors. I trust (and I really hope everyone else can and will) that in the end, being open, free and flowing will propagate the best results. Of course, I didn’t always believe this and, even though I believe it, it’s not always easy to be as generous as these words. ;)

In the end I remember that as an innovator, I can always innovate something else. Someone who has to “steal” something from an innovator may never be able to innovate anything.

Personally, I think it’s worse for a true innovator to collapse and give up when others build on their ideas than for someone to use them without crediting their influences. The reality is we are all always influencing each other regardless of what we believe. Being in each other’s sphere of influence and seeing each other move and grow as individual artists impacts us, even when we aren’t consciously seeking to learn anything.

Consider that cars would never have evolved if each inventor didn’t take what was there before him/her and make it better by “stealing” it, modifying it and making it their own “new and improved” version of the vehicle.

I have found again and again — seriously, this is a consistent phenomenon — the more I share what I learn, the more I get back because in teaching it to others (who may go out and claim it to be their own) I learn more, get questions that have me consider variations on the theme and even sometimes get students who ask questions that straight up inspire me to come up with a new innovation.

In the end, I have to ask myself, “Is it more important to hide this idea that will make me feel so good to share out of fear someone else will use it more effectively than I do and/or pass it off as their own or do I value more the growth of the art form and my role as a Priestess sharing the flow?”

My answer?

Share the knowledge and the love.
Let go of worrying about who will “steal” my ideas without crediting me.
Keep innovating.
Stay in my light.
And trust, as has been proven accurate again and again, that my brightness will prevail…