I read something that totally changed my outlook on “innovation” once, and thats:
“imitate, assimilate, innovate”
So, we all start at imitation : that’s imitating those that we admire, or those that we aspire to be like.
We then move to assimilation : combining or blending ideas from various people we’ve imitated resulting in a unique sound or style. Most / many people never move beyond this stage. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Finally, innovation : where we actually progress into something brand new, totally innovative. The ultimate goal of all creatives.
So, I guess what I learned from that is that by simply learning and focusing on always trying to learn from those we admire, we naturally move from imitation to assimilation, and then the jump to innovation also comes naturally. It doesn’t need to be forced or focused on (not that that’s what you’re implying we do!).
Just keep learning