We’ve all heard the proverbial phrase “Don’t spend time reinventing the wheel,” and many of us don’t think much of it. Why is this? Was a round object that helps to transport things the crowning moment in human discovery? Did we literally find something that cannot possibly be improved up? When you think about it like this, maybe reinventing the wheel isn’t so farfetched.
A few years back, I remember reading about a company that did indeed reinvent the wheel by creating a folding wheel for bicycles and wheelchairs. I remember thinking “Wow, that’s pretty awesome. I wonder why no one thought of this years ago.” The answer is pretty simple though, it’s because the phrase “don’t spend time reinventing the wheel” created a wall that no one dared to climb over. People viewed the wheel, as they do many other things, as something that didn’t need to be improved upon. As most entrepreneurs have hopefully come to realize, in order to disrupt a market, we must break away from this kind of thinking.
I’ve written before about original thinkers and I believe it is a common misconception that original thinkers think up completely original ideas, but this is often not the case. Some of the most successful and disruptive people we consider original thinkers don’t actually come up with novel ideas, but instead find ways to build and improve upon ideas that already exist. It’s about not accepting the status quo.
If you’re someone who’s out there searching for the next big idea for a business, you might not have to go as far as you think. By looking at ideas that already exist and thinking of ways to make them better, there’s a wealth of paths an entrepreneur can follow. Just know that it’s one thing to look at brand new ideas and think of how to make them better (does “we’re the Airbnb of…” sound familiar?), it’s quite another to look at a tried and true idea to see what can be improved upon. After all, there weren’t really any revolutionary changes to the wheel for thousands of years.
I guess if Ucraft Brew doesn’t work out, maybe I can start on the napkin, or the sock. I feel like they’ve been around awhile.
Why do you think people are afraid to reinvent the wheel? Please share in the comments in below!