3m Case

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Date Submitted: 01/15/2013 06:21 PM

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1. Describe the “critical elements” in the evolution of Post-it Notes from genesis through market introduction. [3 points]

It was in the late 1920s that 3M developed the policy of allowing researchers to spend up to 15% of their time working on their own projects. To this day, it tries to make innovation part of the corporate culture by encouraging staff to spend 15% of their time working on pet ideas that they hope one day will become new products for the company. They can also get money to buy equipment and hire extra help. Failure is not punished, but success is well rewarded

Critical elements” in the evolution of 3M’s Post-it® notepads are a reflection of the technology innovation chain. However, the 3M innovation process that led to the creation of the Post-it® notepads did not come as a result of problem recognition but rather as the result of an orderly chaos based creative process. Critical elements that might have caused the development to go in a different direction are noted as follows:

Basic Research – In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M in the United States, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive, but instead he accidentally created a "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive.. His approach, although unconventional, was a clear representation of his ability to dissemble from existing technological fields in the process of polymerization catalysis, and to shape new emerging ones. His discovery was the result of cultivated breakthrough

For five years, Silver promoted his invention within 3M, both informally and through seminars, but without much success. In 1974, a colleague of his, Art Fry, who had attended one of Silver's seminars, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook for his church hymnal that would neither fall out nor damage the hymnal. Later Art spotted a use for the product but what was different was the way he went about persuading his bosses to back the project. He...

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