An Original Idea.
Is that an oxymoron? At this point in history, can one really claim to have an “original idea”? I mean, one CAN claim it; but can one prove it? After all, not all ideas are written down, so many more are never followed through with. So is the power really in the idea itself OR is it only powerful when someone comes around and makes that idea possible, evident, historical even…
The food business is sort of a strange sort of business. We’re not really in the business of coming up with “original ideas”; it’s more a business of following through and making excellent an idea that has already been started. I don’t mean creativity isn’t a necessary quality but creativity is more taking what’s presented to you and executing it just so it’s different enough, to make it “new.”
After all, there are a plethora of ways to fry a fry, juice a lemon, and press a waffle. Let’s be honest, we didn’t invent the Liege Waffle. That was done about 400+ years ago. And though the recipe is available absolutely everywhere, it’s a baked good. And like all baked goods, the difference comes down to not just the ingredients, but where those ingredients are from, how they are stored, how they are crafted together, and if the process can repeat itself exactly the same over and over again. So it’s not the idea that makes it special; it’s really what you do with the idea. But if it’s not your original idea, then why do you feel invaded when someone seems to “copy” you?
It seems we tend to place a certain ownership, not quite on the idea itself, but the process we took to make something of it. It’s that process that is truly only shared by tiny business owners like ourselves. It’s quite sacred; they way in which we worked so hard to get that first employee, to have that real day off, to change a bad review into a somewhat positive one, to try not to care at all about what people think, and then to admit we care so deeply still.
It’s tricky in an industry where most of the time, folks want to be impressed. Settling is no longer an option in the food industry. It feels like we need to have new ideas all the time. But I am coming to find that if there’s anything original in this life; it is your personal process, the depths of your heart that only God can know. It’s in this process that perhaps your business is built, but far more importantly, it is you and those you love that are most affected.
It’s in this process that we can fully figure out who we are and hopefully enjoy the vast majority along the way. We may not have any “original ideas” but lets get creative with the old ones.