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Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge by Oded Shenkar

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1.

Fat Copycats

Imitation is not only more abundant than innovation, but actually a much more prevalent road to business growth and profits.

—Theodore Levitt, 1966

A few years ago I approached an acquaintance, a senior executive with a large national retailer, to promote a new technology-enabled marketing tool developed by a foreign start-up. The tool, embedding voice recognition technology in a novel marketing application, seemed especially suitable for that retailer, which enjoyed a reputation as an industry trendsetter. My contact later returned with a question: was this a novel concept, or had it already been in use? I proudly confirmed that the tool was brand new and that his firm was the first to be approached. “In that case,” came the ...

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