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In the Dec. 17, 2007 issue of Advertising Age, Richard Laermer—CEO of RLM PR and author of 2011: TrendSpotting for the Next Decade (McGraw-Hill)—posited a list of ten trend predictions for 2008. On it, Laermer offered:
After decades of inspirational posters telling us to do better, try harder, break rules, and innovate, now you should follow in others’ footsteps. We can live better, saner, more successful lives by jumping on the bandwagon, not trying to blaze trails.
One might infer from those words that new successes, in a great many cases, are best achieved by building on earlier, proven successes. Innovation doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. Refinements and new ways of approaching a product or process may open a world of possibilities and fiscally enviable results.
Cosmetic pencils and pens are telling examples. The basic, underlying technologies are time-tested, and the results are consumer-proven. In fact, they are so successful and commonplace in such a bevy of applications that it’s difficult to think of pens and pencils as “technologies.”