Lessons in Failure – Why 3M’s Post-It Notes Almost Didn’t Happen

By Dr. Ed Tori, March 2015

These days, there is hardly a household, business, or even computer screen that isn’t covered in some variation of those popular little yellow adhesive notes. How many households and businesses today would be shocked to know that the all-purpose Post-It® Note almost didn’t happen?

When Dr. Spencer Silver of the 3M Company accidentally discovered a new adhesive in 1968, he found it fascinating. It had an unusual structure that couldn’t be dissolved or melted. But because it was such a weak adhesive, it had no apparent use. After promoting it within the company for five years, he set it aside. More

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