The imitation phenomenon is prevalent across countries, historical eras, and industries. To challenge the incumbent, an entrant often creatively combines imitated aspects of the incumbent’s original product with its own innovative characteristics. It is important to understand the nature of the imitative products’ competitive effects on industry dynamics. This panel will draw on, but will go beyond the presentations of three papers, which will be contextualized by the academic discussant — one of the thought leaders in this field, and then by comments on imitation and industry dynamics seen from the perspective of two industry discussants. In so doing, this panel stays true to the spirit of the Strategic Management Society, which aims to bridge thought leadership and reality in the world of strategy.