3M’s research and development department created an adhesive that didn’t stick. Researchers, led by Art Fry, believed the adhesive could be used on a product similar to what would eventually become the Post-it note.
Fry approached the company’s marketing department, which told him consumers weren’t interested. Consumers would never ask for pieces of paper that didn’t completely stick.
To skirt the skeptical marketing managers, Fry had a large number of Post-it-like prototypes made up and distributed to the secretary pool. The company’s administrative assistants took to the new tool, affixing the notes to documents that circulated to vice presidents and other executives.
Then Fry cut off the supply and directed the complaints to the marketing department. The rest is history.
What’s the moral of the story? Never give up on your great ideas, even if they seem like failures at first. And remember that sometimes you’ll need a creative way to allow others to see what you see.