My wife bought a headband recently — you know, those things that women wear over the tops of their heads to keep hair out of their eyes. They’ve been made for God knows how long. You’d think it’d be hard to innovate on a 2 cent piece of plastic. But check out Headbenz. They make a patented – yup, patented – headband for women who get headaches easily from the pressure of regular headbands.
I bought a new wallet last week from Big Skinny. You’d think that innovation in men’s wallets, which have been made for centuries, would be pretty much nil. But Big Skinny, a company founded by an MIT grad and using high-tech materials, makes wallets that are fractions the thickness of normal wallets, and thus create much less of a bulge in your rear pocket.
The lesson is: no matter how mature your product category, you can still innovate within it. And if you don’t, some kid in a garage will.