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Discuss why Bolton’s article titled “Imitation vs. Innovation” is useful for developing new product for international market. Argue why reflective imitation can be considered as one of the sustainable business strategy.
Generally speaking, there tends to be a negative attitude toward imitation for ones own benefit, especially in business. Oftentimes, imitated products are labeled as “counterfeits, knockoffs” etc. this bias is especially prevalent in the United States, due to the U.S. being more of an innovating market rather than an imitating one. What many people fail to recognize is that as Bolton states in her article, “legal imitation can be an astute competitive strategy in its own right, involving substantial investment, creativity, and expertise.” For Bolton, the notion that imitation is the lazy and effortless way to make money off the work of another business is not correct. Bolton has a more extreme view endorsing the use of imitation, but also differentiates between copying and what is known as “reflective imitation.” Reflective imitation is generalized by Bolton as “learning by watching”, rather than “learning by doing.” There are many possible benefits to using this method for introducing products in the market. In their article, Suarez and Lanzolla state “A firm’s innovation has an almost even probability of success or failure.” This is where the learning by watching comes into play. Rather than copying everything from the innovator, in reflective imitation, the imitated product is an “adaptation/modification” of the first product. This also means that the imitated product might even be better rather than only cheaper than the original product. The other benefit is that in reflective imitation, the research and development cost is reduced significantly.
Bolton, in addition to showing the benefits of imitation, also shows us the negative aspects of...

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