The science behind the handy 3M™ Post-it® Note

In every business, these sticky pieces of paper are our vital reminders for meetings, call backs, urgent tasks and even our positive mantras during a tough work week.

But what you might not know is the story behind these humble pads of paper and what made them such a success. Keep reading to find out the science behind this innovative communication solution.

The defining moment…

The Post-it Note's defining moment was in the discovery of its adhesive. Dr. Spencer Silver, a 3M™ scientist, was carrying out research on different adhesives when he made an interesting discovery. At the same time, Art Fry, another 3M™ scientist, was looking for a bookmark that would stick to the paper of his hymn book and didn't damage the pages. Their partnership would be the beginning of the Post – it® Note phenomenon.

The interesting discovery Dr. Spencer Silver made was a little something called microspheres. Unlike other adhesives, microspheres are able to maintain their stickiness and are easily removed from the surface they are attached to. No separate piece of paper and packaging tape required to hold a note in place.

This adhesive revelation started a chain of events that ultimately created one of the most well-known global brands in over 150 countries that also has more than 4,000 products in the range.

Fast forward to 2016…

Post-it® Notes are found on desks, diaries, computer screens, documents and sometimes lunchboxes in the work fridge – just to name a few examples!

Like all 3M™ products, innovation is not only found in the notes construction, but how they can be used around your business.

At Signet, Post – it® Notes have been used when carrying out the value stream mapping process to identify the steps or areas of a process that add no value to our customers. The different colours allow for quick and easy colour coding, and the repositionable adhesive means that they can be moved to another spot without damaging the paper underneath – no need to have multiple sheets of paper in case one gets ripped. 

They can also be used to:

  • Communicate – A vivid Post-it® Note is sure to catch a co-workers attention when placed strategically on their desk.
  • Organise – Create a quick to-do list that stand outs.
  • Collaborate– Use each note as a separate idea in brainstorming sessions or as a separate factor to consider in a SWOT analysis.
  • Educate— Expand your vocabulary by jotting down a new word or fact you have heard on a brightly coloured Post-it® Note, and keep it handy to try using yourself.

These are only a few of the ways that 3M™ Post – it® Notes are applying science to our everyday lives – whether reminding us of important information or used as a collaboration tool in the workplace.

Click here to explore our range of 3M™ Post – it® Notes.


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