This month marks the 30th birthday of the post-it note, the little square that sticks and can be repositioned on any smooth surface without leaving a mark from the adhesive. The post-it is one of those things that couldn’t be simpler and couldn’t get better as it already is. Do you now of a household or office that doesn’t use them? This aid to the brain will be around forever and deserves a place in my hall of fame. However, as clever as it is useful, it needed a lot of convincing until it became a household name.

The little history

It was Spencer Silver, a scientist a US stationary giant 3M who came up with a formula for the adhesive  in 1968. But it was Silver’s colleague, Art Fry, who had the  idea for repositionable notes  while singing in the church choir. His bookmark kept falling out of his hymnal, causing him to lose his page. So, taking advantage of a 3M policy known as the “bootlegging-policy” which allowed employees to use a certain amount of their working hours to develop new ideas, Fry used a portion of his creative hours to develop a solution to his problem. Now the world is singing the praises of his project: Post-it® Notes. After several years of product development, 3M introduced the concept of the sticky note in four major markets in 1977. But, without actual samples in hand to try, consumers didn’t catch on. A year later, 3M blanketed the Idaho, market with samples upon samples. After trying the notes, more than 90 percent of users said they’d buy the product themselves. The test was a success! By 1980, Post-it notes were being sold nationally. Today, they’re used throughout the world.