This video by Steven Johnson, explains how inspiration is combined with other ideas out in our environments to eventually become our own. When you "Mash Up" your ideas, for instance with a historical hat idea and then combine it with colors that come from the military it becomes yours.
This is the ability that gives us the competitive edge! We can make mash ups more often and faster and compete with a large corporation, who more often then not, is lifting 'as is' ideas from you. By the time they have them made overseas you have created a new line and marketed it. Also Shoot then Aim. Get your idea out there. If it doesn't work try something different, but if it does then is the time to aim and do it bigger.
One of the biggest sources of growth in the economy is the emergence of the under 35 age group. The new younger generation is very savvy. They EXPECT to take the basic jeans and t-shirt look and make it their own. They expect to be involved in EVERY part of the design, thus making it personal. They are very connected and take mash ups for granted as just how it is. They may all have I Phones but they personalize when they add their own apps, games etc. They also expect to pre-shop on line after there friends have 'Shared' with them.
I who have thousands of hats bought one the other day on line at a discount site. I went on line to view more for http://www.hatsupply.com/ from the parent company. The company blocked me from seeing their designs on their website. The only way to see their hats was to go to a Wholesale Show. They had no contact info besides listing retail stores who sold their products most of which had no online presence. They were not open to the new conversation. They lost my business and are losing business for their retailers. I like that their intent was to protect their customers but instead they could have helped their retail customers by advertising for them. A more open approach and one that works to support their retail presence.
I can create a mash up from my new hat that I love and combine it with my own ideas and others out there and new materials which I have 18,000 square foot of at my Hats By Leko warehouse! It won't look anything like the original which is a mash up in and of itself. That's what I love about it. It took a Russian hat feel and combined it with a 40's look and a ski cap. Who would have thought? And the materials were unexpected. You too can make many materials available to customers. We ship FAST because we have in stock products so that you can Fullfill their Wishes easily. Choice is good and essential. With choice our fans can make it their own.
Remember the under 35 age group are buying. The question is will they by from you.
So what are the lessons? OPEN UP to let your customers in and involve them. Play mash up with them. Become more available on line. Spend more time exposing yourself to new ideas (follow our blog) even in different areas than your own. And if you want more people to notice you "Hat Up" like never before in more ways than ever and the whole world will Hat Up with you.