How to Steal a Creative Idea

The worst type of thief steals a creative idea and passes it off as his own. History’s greatest thieves steal ideas, improve them, and then give them back.

In a digital world, ideas are crying out to be borrowed, manipulates, reworked, repackaged, and generally messed with in a cool way. Take, for example, the amazing work of Kutiman:

By mashing up a range of youtube clips he’s created something greater than the sum of its parts.

Contrast this with the list of web design ripoffs catalogued on a website called You Thought we wouldn’t notice. A hall of shame featuring work that thieves have added nothing to.

Truly great theft occurs in the form of a gift to the victim (ironically). It helps them to see their own work reflected back to them in synthesised and distilled form. It arranges the work into a context, and alerts the original creator to meanings and possibilities that they may not even have been aware of.

Great theft is expansive. It opens up conversations. It’s premised on the idea that if you’re going to borrow, you have to put something back that wasn’t there before.

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2 Responses to “How to Steal a Creative Idea”

  1. On 29/04/2011 at 3:46 PM Gavin Heaton responded with... #

    Oh, I like your idea of “great theft”. After all, we’re always borrowing from someone somewhere!

    • On 29/04/2011 at 4:43 PM ryanspanger responded with... #

      Glad you enjoyed the article Gavin. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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