My early days of marketing were as a minor part of the team that created Meadow Lea, the brand that completely changed then dominated the margarine markets for the following 25 years. I was really just a young gopher, but the lessons that came with those successes, and the trials in between, were scorched onto my brain.
10 years later I joined a major dairy company as marketing manager, and the first thing on my list was to do to ourselves in the milk business what Meadow Lea had done to the butter market.
Shock, horror, Sacrilege!!.
It was even illegal.
Pulling the dairy fat out of milk and replacing it with vegetable fat had been enshrined as illegal in legislation, which was not about to change because some marketing bloke thought it was stupid, and could see a commercial opportunity.
Even the technical staff of the business thought I had gone stark mad, or at least drunk too much at lunch with the agency (it was the eighties after all) and refused point blank to do any development.
My point, not all the good ideas come from the domain you inhabit, from your people, or even your branch of technology.
Looking outside for ideas, technology, and innovation in all its forms, is not just sensible, but in these days of homogeneity and rapid dispersion of ideas and techniques, it is essential.
And the law? well, it was quietly changed as it had became obvious that consumers did not give a fig what sort of fat it was, they wanted the benefit of lower cholesterol and resulting longer life.