Male programmer stressed out at work

Innovation is Hard,
Stealing is Easier!

So, you’re searching for a business idea or a solution to a problem plaguing your business. You’ve been trying to create one out of thin air for months or years. 

But under the circumstances, you just can’t figure it out. I am here to tell you that you are taking the hard way. You’re waiting for a eureka moment that may never come. Cut yourself some slack and learn to steal.

It's not really stealing...

If you are an entrepreneur or even entrepreneurial-minded, then you are capable of stealing ideas and inspiration in ways that people won’t even realize that you’re stealing. 

Have you ever sat at a restaurant or bar and picked out things they could do better, or sat impressed with a particular experience, and how everything just moved along with little or no friction?

There is a way to do that on purpose and to use this kind of observation to solve your business idea challenge or solve an issue with a current sales, operations or culture problem. Let’s look over how to steal ideas.

Red fox approaching in forest in wintertime nature

Stealing from Nature

If there was ever a model for problem-solving, nature is it. From turtle shells to porcupines to the hollow bones of birds, nature finds a way to facilitate the survival of and proliferation of its cast of players.

Natural systems create opportunities for theft all over the place. For example, birds-Eye Views made drone monitoring of worksites and prospecting all that more obvious. The webbed feet of ducks influenced the creation of flippers. Sonar from bats and dolphins, the examples go on forever. 

Break down your problem into a matter of survival. Are you looking for a hunting solution for better sales or attraction consider a broader view or entrapment? Need more loyalty on your team? Share the joy of a fresh kill/win, celebrate with the team and make them feel like part of the pack. 

If you can break your problem down into its primal interpretation, you can usually find the answer in the natural world.

Nurse explaining notes to female patient in health center

An Unrelated Field

I know the temptation will be to look at your competitors or potential competitors. But unfortunately, you’ll only end up rehashing the same processes currently causing you trouble. Or, if you are trying to come up with an idea, it’ll lack the differentiation you’ll need to stand out and steal customers.

So look at unrelated fields. If you are a process-based business, health care makes a great source of inspiration. Health care struggles are the burden of so many people, remove the massive number of people, and you’ll unearth some amazingly designed processes. 

If you are in a creative field, look at mechanical processes to add rigour to your processes and workflows; the way that Mr. Lube handles customer service and a hundred oil changes in a day is nothing short of inspiring. And it came from the assembly line model of manufacturing.


I am a creature of habit. So I also can get stuck in ruts reasonably quickly. And the more I feel stuck, the more I keep spinning my wheels.

It has always been that the second I get out of my head,  that’s when inspiration strikes. It can be through travel, going to a restaurant, being observant of others, and not thinking about the work problem. But if you are someone who runs a business or is interested in running a business, your brain never turns off. So, take the time get out of your routine and watch the world around you. The opportunity to steal inspiration will find you.

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