Jeff Veen paraphrases Picasso with ‘Good designers copy, great designers steal’.
Since innovation is in large part finding new combinations, I think that Veen’s point applies to innovation as well as design. He expands the Picasso quote to include a similar statement from TS Eliot, saying a great poet that steals ‘welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn.’ Copying an iPhone doesn’t add anything new to the economy, and is unlikely to do you much good. Stealing the fundamental ideas that make it work, and combining those with something else, actually does create something new – that’s innovation.
(originally from boing boing)