Invention of the Post-it note is a great example of
❶ turning a problem to
❷ combining the unusual, and
This story illustrates also the Wood Screw Model of Entrepreneurial Success.
3M corporation had a problem with a glue it had invented.
Their scientists were attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive, but the glue did not produce the desired results.
It did not stick things
Search for a Different Application
glue was considered to be a
failed product until Arthur Fry, a 3M
chemist and an
inventor, found the way to turn the glue's disadvantage to an advantage.
Arthur Fry searched for such an application where a glue that didn't stick
too strongly would be appropriate. In particular, he thought of a
combining the glue with a bookmark, which is something that people want
to move from page to page.
experimenting. Particularly, he coated
only one edge of the paper so that the portion extending from a book would
not be sticky. Fry used these stickers to write notes to his boss. This use
led him to broaden his original idea into a new application concept and
creation of a
new-to-the-world product ‒ the Post-it note.
Arthur Fry discovered a great opportunity in a problem and helped
his company to
turnaround a failing project. A "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive became the basis for the Post-it note, which was a huge success.
3M named Fry a corporate researcher in 1986.