Innovation vs. Imitation

In a previous post on thinking creatively, I talked about our early days when innovation helped us squeak by in stressful situations as we were just starting out. We’ve come a long way from those days, but although the things we’ve done recently might be more profound or have a bigger impact on our company and industry, I still think that all of the creative solutions we’ve come up with over the years are a core part of our DNA. Innovation is a critical contributor to who we are.

We were the first to vertically integrate in stationery by building a network of proprietary designers comprised of the best of the best. We were the first to introduce premium stationery printed on-demand, complete with photos and high-end digital printing equipment. We were the first to build a card personalization suite with features that simplified the user experience without sacrificing quality. The list goes on and on, and the end result is that Tiny Prints has emerged as a pioneer in our space with a long list of patents.

Being a pioneer comes with costs, however. We have “inspired” everyone from the biggest companies in our retail space to countless little start-ups who want to replicate our success (and our code, designs and products).

Is it frustrating? You bet. Is it good for the industry? We have faith that it is.

“Copycats keep our edges sharp, and by nature we’re always one step ahead.”

Copycats keep our edges sharp, and by nature we’re always one step ahead. There’s something intriguing that happens when you work on the hardest problems first—by solving them, you are constantly presented with solutions that bring about even harder problems to work on. But by attracting people who love that circle of innovation, we have become more energized and passionate about disruption.

And those copycats? They can follow some of the things we do, but not all of them. Even copying someone else’s work is hard to do when innovation isn’t at the core of your DNA, and it becomes increasingly difficult to thrive as a company when you are always late to the game.

The fact of the matter is that true innovators are few and far between. If you think you’re one, send me your resume. We’re always looking for masterminds in the making…

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Category: Around the Office
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