Today is the birthday of Arthur Fry, the inventor of the Post-it note. Fry was born in Minnesota on this day in 1931.
Fry’s idea for the Post-it note was born in 1973. At his job as a new product developer at 3M, Fry attended a presentation by a colleague named Spencer Silver. Silver’s talk was on an weak adhesive he had developed, a seemingly useless invention — a glue that didn’t stick.
Later when Fry was singing in his church choir, he had the epiphany that brought the Post-it note to life. To mark the pages of his hymnbook, Fry used slips of paper. When he opened the hymnbook to a marked page and the bookmark fell out, he got his million-dollar idea. Applying some of Silver’s adhesive to the bookmark, Fry discovered that not only did the bookmark stay in place, it also could be removed without damaging any pages of the hymnal.
Later, when he wrote some notes to his boss on his new invention, Fry realized it had more uses than just as a bookmark.
Post-it notes went on the market for the first time in 1980, and today Post-it notes and Post-it related products are sold in over 100 countries worldwide (1).
Today’s Challenge: Post-it Pitch
What are some possible uses for a Post-it note? Brainstorm as many ideas as you can, trying for a wide range of ideas. Follow Fry’s example by thinking out of the box. Where others saw just a glue that wouldn’t stick, Fry saw useful innovation. After you have generated at least twenty ideas, select your best single idea and write your pitch on one or more Post-it notes. If you’re working with others, have a contest to see which ideas are the best. (Common Core Writing 1)
Quotation of the Day: [Post-it notes] spread like a virus. It was always a self–advertising product, because customers would put the notes on documents they sent to others, arousing the recipient’s curiosity. They would look at it, peel it off and play with it and then go out and buy a pad for themselves. -Arthur Fry
1- Horne, Richard and Tracey Turner. 101 Things You Wish You’d Invented …and Some You Wish No One Had. New York: Walker & Company, 2008.