I agree with Super Ron that there is still more room for innovation in the realm of painting than most builders think there is. Firetiger was not a pattern in my father's time. Today it can be deadly pretty much across the globe. Think about that. A simple pattern that simply didn't exist until about 35 years ago.
As to innovation in building....I am of the opinion that the multi-jointed swim bait is a true innovation and if I had to choose, I'd choose Hopkins as the inventor...and he was a member of this board at the time. I will never forget seeing a video clip of his prototype swimming through the water. I showed the video to my wife and she got this inquisitive look on her face and said, "That's not a lure, that's a fish, right?"
But that type of innovation, true ground-breaking innovation in building, doesn't come along with any regularity what so ever. It is instead usually stumbled upon, and then capitalized upon.
I posted on this board, the first ever foiled bait with mesh beneath the foiling....believe it or not. It created quite a stir. I think it was was around the year 2005, but I can't remember for sure...and no one on this board or any other had seen anything like. I even had a guy who was a musky guide and taxidermist contact me via email and offer me a guided musky trip if I'd show him how I did it.
But.....here are the interesting facts surrounding that foiling method:
1. It was not my idea. It was the brainchild of a TU member named Husky. He had thought of the idea, but just didn't have the patience to execute it properly and asked me to try it. I pointed out that it wash HIS idea when I posted the pictures.
2. It was truly ground-breaking in the US at the time. I gave step by step details as to how to do it and today it is a commonplace method.
3. But, as Paul Harvey used to say, here's the rest of the story....It was a method that had been used by builders overseas LONG before Husky came up with the idea and I executed it, so to speak, and presented it as "new." I later found out that builders from other countries had been placing netting under foil for many years. How did I find that out? I have a blog called "Fired up the airbrush..." in the Tackle Making forum of Ohiogamefishing.com that I started in about 2005...on that blog, I eventually posted the work of builders from all over the country and the world and that is how it was brought to my attention. It was already happening...we in America simply just didn't know it. The Internet was still in its infancy, basically, and the language barrier precluded message boards from "sharing" with overseas builders. Today, of course, there are Facebook "groups" and translation is available at the push of a button. And I have to tell you that some of the work I see from overseas is nothing shy of amazing. I thoroughly enjoy looking at their work, even after looking at baits since the nineties when I began to build.
This board has a long history and much of it is not known to many of its members. There are builders who cut their teeth here and quietly moved on. Their innovation and work is now commonly accepted as routine, but it is still THEIR work. There are too many names to mention, but some very impressive work was incubated and shared right here on TU.
Today's newer builders can come out of the gate building and painting at a level that took us years to achieve because of the incredible amount of information that is so readily available today and wasn't available at all just 20 years ago.
Innovation is still occurring. There is still more to be done. But it is usually something that you can't force, it just happens and usually over time. And it's why I am still a builder.