Have you noticed that Polaroid – the company once thought of as dead when instant photos were supplanted by digital – has made a resurgence? Polaroid retained its iconic rainbow packaging and reappeared in several places during my holiday shopping.

The company has returned with a new lineup of products that all revolve around imagery – now more broadly defined. Instant photos are back and so is Polaroid; plus, they have expanded into digital frames, and even more cutting-edge is their entrée into the 3D printing market with filament and 3D printers.

I think about the contrast with Kodak who has all but disappeared from the retail space and amateur market, but Polaroid seems to have found new ways to utilize its technology to sell directly to consumers. I especially am intrigued by their combination of relaunching the original Polaroid instant photos (capitalizing on the vintage/everything old is new again trend) and their futuristic outlook with home-based 3D. It is a prime example of “preserving the core and stimulating progress” recommended in Built to Last*.

 As we start the new year, take some time to both look back and look ahead with your product or service offering. Can you take a lesson from Polaroid and find the alchemy between the two?

*Built to Last by Jerry I. Porras and Jim Collins


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