The lens of Copying instructs users to use simple, inexpensive copies of their product or service. This lens is usually applied in one of three ways:
1. Instead of an unavailable, expensive, or fragile object, use simpler and inexpensive copies.
a. i.e. Listen to an audio tape instead of attending a seminar
2. Replace an object or process with optical copies
a. i.e. Measure an object by measuring the photograph
3. If visible optical copies are already used, move to infrared or ultraviolet copies.
a. i.e. Make images in infrared to detect heat sources, such as diseases in crops, or intruders in a security system.
Copying can solve many problems in a business. The copy can be a replication of a part, product, service, or even an experience.
Learning to Fly and Fire
Perhaps the most obvious example is a flight simulator. Rather than paying for the rental or purchase of an airplane, a would-be pilot can start learning to fly via a flight simulation. A significant portion of a pilot’s instrument flight training can be done on a simulator. The pilot does not have to actually be in the plane to begin learning the basics of how to fly.
The military uses virtual reality in Basic Training to prepare soldiers for combat. Soldiers are desensitized to killing enemies through the use of video games and virtual reality technology. Obviously the Army can’t use real people to prepare their soldiers to kill, so they use the next best thing – a copy.
Applications of this lens are abundant in our digital world. For example, consider video conferencing, document scanning and faxing, e-learning programs, and eBooks. Video conferencing allows participants to interact in a meeting without having to physically be in the same location.
Similarly, document scanning or faxing allows for a cheap copy of a document to be quickly and easily sent to multiple destinations around the world. Rather than sending the original via the Post Office, a user can simply scan in the document and instantly send the paperwork wherever it needs to go.
E-learning programs, or distance learning, allow students to complete technical programs, trade school, or college courses from the comfort of their own home. Students can get a degree without ever having to step foot in a physical classroom. The virtual course is a “copy” of the real thing.
An eBook is essentially identical to a printed book, except that manuscript is published digitally. eBooks are much cheaper to produce and make it possible for anyone to become a published author. YouTube operates on a similar principle. Rather than making physical copies of a recording such as a DVD or VHS, the creator can post their masterpiece online for the whole world to see – without ever spending a penny.
How can you Copy your product, service, or system to cut costs or make your product more accessible to consumers in distant locations?