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Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge [Hardcover]

Oded Shenkar
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 15 2010
In the business world, imitation gets a bad rap. We see imitating firms as ?me too? players, forced to copy because they have nothing original to offer. We pity their fate: a life of picking up crumbs discarded by innovators striding a path paved with fame and profit.

In Copycats, Oded Shenkar challenges this viewpoint. He reveals how imitation?the exact or broad-brushed copying of an innovation?is as critical to prosperity as innovation.

Shenkar shows how savvy imitators generate huge profits. They save not only on R&D costs but also on marketing and advertising investments made by first movers. And they avoid costly errors by observing and learning from others? trials.

Copycats presents suggestions for making imitation a core element in your competitive strategy and pairing it powerfully with innovation, including:

· How to select the right model to imitate

· How to avoid oversimplification of a model

· Which imitation strategy to use

· How to prepare and execute an implementation plan

Engaging, practical, and rich in company examples, Copycats unveils how to add imitation to your competitive arsenal.

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Product Details

Product Description


“a new provocative book…” —

About the Author

Oded Shenkar is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and Professor of Management at the Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, where he heads the international business area. A top scholar in international strategy, he is also a prolific author, and his work has been cited in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Economist.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By kris
From 1948 to 2001 innovators captured only 2.2% of the present value of their innovations, the rest went to no other than the smart copycats or what the author calls imovators. The book exposes how companies and countries big and small claiming to be innovators use more imitation than they're proud of. But it should not be a despicable act as business scholarship has been labeling it so far. It is time to accept it as a necessary faculty. This is a great read for entrepreneurs who think that they need to reinvent the wheel to be praised and profitable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Aug. 2 2010
By D. Gjorgjievski - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is my first review. I felt that I needed to give my opinion on this book because it's REALLY good.

The author describes many examples of a companies that we think are innovators, when in fact they're imitators. Examples include:

- Apple
- Microsoft
- Visa
- Master
- Walmart
- McDonalds

They weren't imitating 100% but took the main concepts and improved on them. The author calls them imovators, companies that imitate + innovate.

I was frustrated with the business community overall because it focused so much on innovation and so little on imitation, when in fact, some research shows that as much as 97.8% of the value of innovation goes to imitators! (source: [...]). Ouch!

Personally, I own a very small business and been lured into thinking I need to 'innovate' and that imitation is bad. Now, when I've learned that imitation is OKAY (within legal boundaries, the author says upfront he speaks about legal, not illegal imitation) I found many profitable opportunities around me. I started to look at various trends and realize how big of a potential there is out there. This book made me see a world I never dared to see before.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful volume on why imitation often proves less costly and more effective than innovation March 8 2011
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Oded Shenkar, a professor who teaches global business management, offers a basic, far-reaching, somewhat surprising proposition: Imitation is faster, cheaper, easier to implement, less risky and more profitable than innovation ¬- and you can imitate legally and profitably. Still, most firms kowtow to the mythical power of innovation, striving to invent the next big thing. What if all that struggle is a waste of resources? What if it makes more sense to spend your firm's money, time and energy studying other companies' goods, services and markets, and then selecting targets to imitate? What if you can use creative copying to achieve more profit for less effort? Shenkar lays out the benefits and pitfalls of this approach with clarity and only a soupçon of academic theorizing. Unlike most business authors, he saves the best for last, and the book's final quarter offers revelatory reading and sound strategy. getAbstract recommends this book to those looking to maximize effort, insight and profit. Read this today, before some aggressive entrepreneur takes Shenkar's lessons to heart and publishes a knockoff.
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful resource for any business who sees innovation as creative theft Aug. 14 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but can also be very useful business wise. "Copycats: How Smart Companies use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge" is a guide to why the sometimes derided imitation can prove to be a good and useful thing in business, stating that a good proven idea can be useful if done right, although it's easy to fall into the mistaken pit of knock offs. With plenty of strategy and thought on the matter, "Copycats" is a useful resource for any business who sees innovation as creative theft.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and insightful Nov. 9 2010
By Moshe Farjoun - Published on
Professor Shenkar's book is an original and insightful contribution to strategy practitioners and scholars. Well grounded in recent research in a variety of fields ranging from history to neuroscience, this book challenges conventional wisdom about innovation and imitation. Based on rich business examples the author shows the benefits of imitation and its complementarity with innovation as drivers of success. Managers will greatly benefit from Shenkar's research as it uncovers new ways of thinking about how to succeed in a global and turbulent environment and identifies the ingredients underlying effective imovators (imitator and innovator). Highly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice work about what everybody does and nobody recognizes Feb. 26 2013
By Roger Cusa Pascual - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A candid work which explains the opportunities of companies and entrepreneurs who are imitating the most innovative concepts, business models or designs to improve their chances of success.
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