I was looking at this month's Caption Contest on the Harvard Business Review and saw it was a nice cartoon by Paula Pratt:
What was really interesting to me was that I soooo recalled submitting a cartoon that was along the same lines. Checked my records and, sure enough, back in July 2013 I'd sent this image in:
Pretty similar, wouldn't you say?
So was there any copying going on? Of course not; how would Paula know what I'd sent in a year previously and why would see even want to copy it? It's just an example of two people coming up with the same idea. This is why I often roll my eyes when people jump up and down about person number two having "stolen their idea" because something appears that looks to be the same image/story/meme/etc as person number one had devised on their own. I'm sure there sometimes is explicit lifting of content. But far more often I think it's just a case of the world being full of lots of creative people thinking about generalized stuff and therefore coming up with similar final results now and then. Just as happened here.
The second point one might raise is that of timing. When I sent my cartoon in it was a different time and different people perhaps were viewing the material. Success depends upon a host of factors and timing is definitely one of them. The broader category is "luck". If you're lucky you get seen at the right time. If not ... you try again later!
And one last point. This image IS part of a cartoon caption contest so if you think you've got a killer caption, get thee hence and submit!