When I was at school, if you were caught copying somebody else's work, you were pretty quickly labelled a "Copycat".  Just the other day I was talking to the owner of a successful New Zealand startup.  I was told that a well known New Zealand brand was deliberately copying their ideas for a new venture.  These copycats are nothing short of being "Compliment Cats".  I mean, surely it's a compliment if competitors want to copy you?

Today, Apple has launched its new iPad Mini.  Again an evolution of its original iPad but also taking some of the ideas from rival companies who have for some time had a smaller tablet device.  Last week, Microsoft launched Windows 8, which is radically different to any other versions of their operating system, but seems to incorporate a lot of what's been available through Android and Apple iOS devices for some time.

It seems that the world has now come to a standstill.  Market laggards are playing catch-up while companies which were once innovative, struggle to show thought leadership.  It would be easy to think that we'd run out of ideas!

Consider this for a moment.  No matter what industry you're in right now, when was the last time that something significant happened which change the world as you know it?  When was the last time you offered your customers something different?  Has your company ever done something disruptive and industry changing?  Have you just followed everyone else?

When I talk about being a Social Business, I talk about being a People Business.  By nature people like to share and they like to innovate.  One of the keys to success in this modern era is to be able to generate ideas, to develop and implement them in less time.  The term ideation (Idea Generation), is the creative process of gathering ideas and developing them accordingly.  Combine this with crowd-sourcing and very quickly excitement is built with customers and employees.

No, the world isn't out of ideas!  We just need to transform the way in which we do business.  With the use of Social Media it's easy to source ideas from a crowd of people, while a Social Business is a bit more targeted in their approach, with their focus being on employees and existing customers.  By analyzing collaboration (conversations) and ideation, products can be improved or created, processes can be streamlined or optimized and key talent can be fully utilized.

My younger brother has for many years been a fan of Rugby League.  I noticed that for some time he would switch which team he was supporting, usually for a winning team.  However, over time, I've noticed that he has settled for the Canberra Raiders.  This sort of behavior is typical of most people, they want to be a part of the winning team.  It's not all about the salary package, it's more about the culture and the environment.

This stuff is exciting!  With the use of social collaboration, the enterprise should get use to the unexpected as part of the road to success.  For the Social Business, ideation and innovation is just a part of the strategy.  There's one thing for sure, it drives employee satisfaction and customer loyalty.