Eaon Pritchard  wrote an article for AdNews titled All the Gear and No Idea. (11 July 2022).

« Originality is plagiarism undetected, so the old saying goes… Most of our copying behaviour is subconscious… But real originality comes from what Matt Ridley [author of How Innovation Works] coined as ‘ideas having sex’. Ridley observed that throughout all of history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. »

« The early Elvis sound and look was a recombination of existing memes to produce something original. A fusion of black r’n’b and gospel with hillbilly country in a Beal Street pimp suit… Where ideas come from, then, is not as important as where you take them to. »

« I recently read about some orangutans at a sanctuary in Borneo. The wardens would often ‘cook out’ in the evenings, making a curry or something in a big pot on a fire. Our ginger cousins clocked this and one day a few of them broke into the kitchen and stole a pot. They next made a big pile of wood, and placed the pot on the top, then sat in a circle around it, waiting for the pot to fill up with curry. Copying what they’d seen their humans do all the time. Orangutans are pretty smart. They have got the hang of tools and even make their own gloves out of leaves to handle prickly fruits. But this time they had copied the style but without the substance. Whenever we parrot some Gary Vee-ism, or ta-dah the Binet and Field 60/40 chart in the deck, accidentally repost the (idiotic) Branding vs Marketing meme, reel off from the Wikipedia list of cognitive biases or the ten BIG STATEGY IDEAS from Cannes 2022 – we’re just sitting around the pot waiting for curry to appear.  »

« In academic terms this is known as the Bullshit Industrial Complex. Essentially, the BIC describes how too many people are pushing their opinions on topics, not because they know and understand the issues, but because they’ve read about them, from someone else, who was quoting someone else. And so on. All the gear but no idea.  »

« Better to take these ideas to somewhere else. Challenge the theory and show us your own data. Build on ideas, give them new context and come up with our own original recombination. »

Eaon Pritchard is the author of two books: Where Did It All Go Wrong?: Adventures At The Dunning Kruger Peak of Advertising (2017) and Shot By Both Sides: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate (2020). 

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