Humans have strong will to live. There may be exceptions to that assumption but it appears we do and I am ready to agree that is pre-set in our human condition. With strong will to live, we have innate need to make our future better. Better future is driven by doing things better, living healthier and happier life, making our lives more meaningful and so on. To change what is already being done in a better ways require good innovation.
Innovation is ability to see the problem in our current condition and provide a very good solution to that. This is where originality sees to come into play. More creative and unique ways drive better innovation and we understood that we should encourage originality for the betterment of human future.
Lot of times who claim to be original in their thoughts and solutions fail to explain how original/innovative they are. This may be crux of the originality disease and solution unfolds in that question right away. One way how you can tell how ones ideas are original is to compare them with other ideas. This is where imitate and then innovate principle perhaps helps.
This is my personal belief that one easy way to innovate better is to understand the existing body of work very well and even practice it very well to see the flaws/beauty of it. The more you work on existing work, you will start to think about how you can do better. This may be stark contrast to some people’s ideas that you do not want to pollute yourself with other people ideas to produce original one. I am inclined to think both are possible but the first one seems to be very well tested and deeply innovative (and reproducible).