If you know the story about masking tape and post-it notes skip this, if not please continue reading.
In 1925 a 3M employee (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, that’s the 3 M’s) noticed it’s very difficult for car painters to remove the parts they hide from painting using by the a regular tape with regular strength (too strong for this application). He saw an opportunity in a weaker adhesive tape and it’s endless applications, not just cars. So it’s been used on cars, painters wall, artists, prototypes, architecture models and way way more than what I can write. The guy is a genius!
This happens when you work in an environment that foster creativity and open for any innovation. Sadly we don’t see much of them today, we’re all now cogs working the machine 🙁
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing has nothing in it’s name that it does adhesive stuff. But it has “Manufacturing” at the end of it, which I think it’s what made them looking for other things to manufacture than just mining.
And then came the 3M Post-It notes, an even weaker adhesive paper note, that we all use today. I would day the “Manufacturing” word have served them and us very well. Please don’t get the idea that it’s just adhesive paper. 3M manufactures some of the world’s top devices from Airports, Police and Ambulance devices to 3M Scotch Bright for wiping your glasses.
With 3M’s name of a company (later shortly a powerful brand) branding have reflected on the employees themselves that the sky is the limit to what can they propose to the company to manufacture and bosses who are happy to listen.
I wish to see something like this nowadays. Now it’s just the boss’s word and nothing else. Sigh. If I owned a company I will make sure that I listen from the Janitor up to my stake holders. Yeah, they help you see!
Whilst at Tribal Worldwide I formed a good relationship with the janitor lady. She exposed me to a lot of things how we can improve our work and our food. I am still friend’s with her too. It’s really great to see from her perspective how life is.