An example of unsuccessfully reinvented wheels. Pic:

I am a lucky wife.  If we need, say, a shed for the garden tools we go to the hardware store and buy one and when my husband is overcome by the urge to cook dinner, he will generally stay pretty close to the letter of the recipe and curb his creativity, well then again, there was that story where he built his own computer …

What does this have to do with wheels and reinvention?  Here is what: “reinventing the wheels” means to create anew or duplicate a basic method or product (like the wheel or a recipe for beef stew) that somebody else has already invented and established – quite a while ago.

The whole process of wheel reinvention is an exercise in futility, a waste of money, time, energy, and also comes with the considerable risk of  “reinventing a square wheel” , which is a product that is inferior to the original (the time proven round wheel).

Reinventing the wheel can happen to the best of us, in our personal lives as well as at work.  Some people argue that a bit of reinventing the wheel is good, else we would all hobble down the freeway on wooden wheels, but generally speaking, the wheel that is there will do just fine.


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