The initial results from the adhesive that would become the driving force behind the post-it note must have been frustrating for its inventor, Dr Spencer Silver – at least at first. His attempts to create a super-strong adhesive that could be repositioned repeatedly resulted in an adhesive that was extremely weak. But Silver’s colleague, Art Fry, found new inspiration when he lit upon the idea of an adhesive bookmark that could be used to mark places in a hymn book without tearing any pages.
Silver’s accidental discovery combined with Fry’s inspiration resulted in the ubiquitous post-it note, initially only available in yellow, but later being produced in a rainbow of colors. According to 3M, the average office employee uses 30 Post-its a week, while professionals can expect to receive 11 Post-it messages every day. 84% of office workers say that Post-its helped them to remember ‘to-dos’. Today, over 1,000 Post-it products are sold in over 150 countries.