Reacting to the competition and copying them are different things. We learn by doing in most cases, which is copying. We innovate by playing, which is working out new ways to execute what we’ve copied. Without copying we can’t learn anything – knowledge is by definition prior art.
Several posters have cited cases where great leaders have bragged about copying. I regard that as sheer honesty.
No one lives in a vacuum and no one innovates on their own. If you learned a language you are copying. It’s how we develop a baseline for new endeavours. The really interesting innovators try as best as possible to solve real world problems, or to reimagine existing solutions. There is a lot of convergent evolution in this space at times, and we often see different people come up with nearly the same solutions independently. That is a good thing, and indicative of the richness of intellectual curiosity in the community.
Using a climbing analogy – we build invisible mountains out of experience and knowledge. As soon as you stop to admire about the peak you’ve scaled, someone else has passed you using a route you never thought to follow. S
top thinking about your place and start thinking about where you want to go. Someone suggested a track and field analogy. It fits perfectly. The second of space right before the gun goes off is where your thinking is purest.
Pure focus and pure anticipation. Nothing else exists outside of your commitment to act creatively.