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The History of Post-It Notes

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Justina Freilich

on 21 October 2015

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Transcript of The History of Post-It Notes

Post-it notes
the gold standard of study tools
influences on and of post-it notes
By providing users with an affordable and versatile tool for studying, communicating, and self-expression, the serendipitous invention of the Post-It Note revolutionized study and work habits and influenced social, economic, and environmental trends.
Social
and Environmental Impacts
Impact of Technology
Evolution of Technology
conclusion
Driving Forces & Hindrances
By Justina Freilich
sources
"1978 -- POST-IT NOTES -- 3M." Manufacturing Engineer 83, no. 5 (October 2004): 36. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2014). http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c44c841c-b87d-416e-960d-edf659a3e6d7%40sessionmgr114&vid=6&hid=126

In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver was working in 3M's research laboratory studying adhesives. Generally, his fellow scientists were trying to create stronger adhesives for one of 3M's other majorly successful inventions: tape. But Silver accidentally discovered a weak adhesive that could be positioned and repositioned on surface without damaging it. Six years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry was having trouble keeping the bookmark for his hymn book in place and remembered Silver's adhesive. After convincing the company to manufacture the sticky notes, 3M marketers used Boise, Idaho as a sample market to test the potential success of the product in a sampling effort known as the Boise Blitz. The journal in which this article is published in run by SME, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Sibbet, David. 2010. Visual meetings how graphics, sticky notes, & idea mapping can transform group productivity. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Sticky notes are a valuable tool in the workplace and can expand cooperation, creativity, and synergy in the office. In this book, David Sibbet explains various techniques and activities to make creative thinking and problem solving in a workplace setting easy and fun. One of the activities involves everyone writing their ideas on a sticky note as they think and placing them on a board so that others can see them and build from the ideas. Sibbet explains how this can encourage people to share their ideas freely and openly and also help to avoid duplicates of ideas from being posted. David Sibbet is the president and founder of organizational consultant company, The Grove Consultants International. Sibbet and his employees frequently lead communication and leadership programs.
Silver, Spencer, and Arthur Fry. "In search of an application." TCE: The Chemical Engineer no. 854 (August 2012): 53-55. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2014). http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/command/detail?vid=9&sid=c44c841c-b87d-416e-960d-edf659a3e6d7%40sessionmgr114&hid=126&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=79566630

Spencer Silver had no idea what to use his new discovery of a weak adhesive for, but he knew it could be used for something. Its unique characteristics were unheard of before his discovery and he spent half a decade searching for a use and presenting his discovery to other chemists and inventors at 3M. Arthur Fry, another employee at 3M, came up with a solution: a bookmark that could stick to a book page without tearing it. Fry is quoted as saying "Everybody was singing while I was trying to find which page we were on. I was thinking 'I wish I had a bookmark that would stick to the paper but that couldn't pull it apart,"' about his solution to his bookmark slipping out of his hymnbook causing him to lose his place.
Karukstis, Kerry K., and Gerald R. Van Hecke. 2003. Chemistry connections: the chemical basis of everyday phenomena. Boston: Academic Press.

Though most people are more concerned with the practical uses of sticky notes, the discovery of the adhesive used to make them is also quite interesting. Rather than forming a think layer of microspheres of adhesive, the particular solution, discovered by Spencer Silver after he combined an unusual proportion of the mixture, formed a very thin layer which is why sticky notes can be applied and removed from a surface without causing damage to either the surface or itself.
Wells, Jenny C., and Patricia H. Sheehey. "Person-Centered Planning." Teaching Exceptional Children 44, no. 3 (January 2012): 32-39. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2014).

Sticky notes can greatly impact a workplace environment by making it easier for people who are uncomfortable being vocal to share ideas with coworkers. Many people, especially younger people, like students, are uncomfortable with sharing some of their ideas verbally, so it is important to find another form of communication for them to use. Different colors of sticky notes can also provide a visual aid when marking memos, reminders, or a list of priorities.
"Spencer Silver." NNBD. January 1, 2014. Accessed October 2, 2014.

This biography gives a lot of good knowledge on Spencer Silver, like how he spent three decades at 3M. It also talks about the basic things a biography covers, like where he was born and who he married. It doesn't provide a lot of new knowledge but the knowledge it does provide is very useful.
"Art Fry." 2YC3. Accessed October 1, 2014.

This biography briefly discusses Arthur Fry's life. It discusses his roots as well as how he came to work for 3M. It also talks about where he is today which is fun to read about. He was chosen as one of Esquire Magazine's Top 100 People in the World. Arthur Fry has contributed to some incredible things, though the Post-It Note was his most 'successful' invention. He worked at 3M for nearly forty years and is now semi-retired; he still speaks both in and out of 3M about innovation.
"History Timeline Post-it® Note." About Post-it® Brand. April 4, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2014. http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/PostItNA/Home/Support/About/

The information in this post follows the timeline of the Post-It Note from its invention to today. It provides a lot of important information and it's directly from the Post-It Note official website so it can be considered accurate.
"3M Patent Count Crosses 100,000 Milestone." Zacks Investment Research. May 9, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2014. http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/133086/3M-Patent-Count-Crosses-100000-Milestone.

3M has filed many patents in its lifetime; as of May of this year, its patent count is over 100,000. 3M's produces a wide range of products, including Post-It Notes, several kinds of double-sided, duct, and masking tape, and medical adhesives. This article aslo briefly discusses 3M's 'fifteen percent time' rule that allows employees to spend a certain amount of work time pursuing creative interests. It was during this 'fifteen percent time' that Arthur Fry thought of the sticky note.
The history behind the sticky note
Leddy, Michael. "Advice for Students: 20 Uses for a Post-it Note." Lifehack RSS. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/advice-for-students-twenty-uses-for-a-post-it-note.html.
This article presents twenty different ways the Post-It Note can be used by college students. Many of these uses can be applied to not only college students, but a wide variety of customers. The uses of the product are vital in expressing its impact on the world.
"CollaborationCentral." Collaboration Central. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/PostItNA/Home/Ideas/Collaboration-Central/.
This website is a part of the official Post-It Note site which means all of the ideas expressed on this web page are directly related to uses of sticky notes. This site is a tool that explains how to use sticky notes to plan projects and brainstorm ideas more easily. It lists various projects and group exercises that can be done using Post-It Notes. This is a great example of a use of sticky notes.
"Frequent Questions | Paper Recycling." EPA. February 28, 2014. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm#staples.
This section of the Environmental Protection Agency website was very useful in finding information of the ability of sticky notes to be recycled. It reported that some recycling mills are able to recycle sticky notes while others are not. Surprisingly, the dye is more of a problem than the adhesive.
Picture Citations
3M Logo: http://www.topdesignmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/3m-logo-innovation-slogan.jpg.

Spencer Silver: https://asunews.asu.edu/files/imagecache/story_main_image/images/Silver4web.jpg.

Arthur Fry: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7095/7337766670_2c60e22187_z.jpg.

Spencer Silver and Arthur Fry: http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/8027e598-fd05-11df-ae2d-00144feab49a.img.

Post-It Note Posterboard: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sOFAT-W8Jag/TnpcFiXqZRI/AAAAAAAAAH8/fTZmoL6j4sM/s320/DSC09008.JPG

Hand Wall Art: http://blog.catchmyparty.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/post-it-note-art.jpg.

Nyan Cat Wall Art: http://d51ck0gypsxpo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/images/Nyan-Nyan-Cat-Post-It-Note-art.png.

Mona Lisa Wall Art: http://sobadsogood.com/uploads/media/2014/03/09/brilliant-post-it-notes-artwork-around-the-world-8.jpg.

Origami Butterflies: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VePK7Sl5edM/UXxf47pF0hI/AAAAAAAADnw/DpJ8t2T9nVg/s1600/DSCN5812.JPG
Study/work tool
communication
self-expression
Bookmark
Reminders
Grocery Lists

To Do Lists

Proofreading
Memos

Flip-books
Origami
http://i.ytimg.com/vi/txj6nIixIq4/hqdefault.jpg.
http://andreadekker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/grocery-list.jpg.
http://www.origami-resource-center.com/images/EasyOrigamiMontrollPigeon.jpg.
spencer silver
Spencer Ferguson Silver III was born in San Antonio, Texas on the 6th of February, 1941. After receiving a bachelors degree from Arizona State University in 1962 and a doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1966, he began working for 3M where he would remain until 1996. During the three decades he worked at 3M, he filed 22 patents. While trying to make a strong adhesive in the lab at 3M, Silver accidentally created a very weak adhesive that possessed a very unique property: the adhesive could weakly bind a light material, like paper, to a surface and allow the paper to be removed without damaging either the paper or the surface.
"Spencer Silver." NNBD. January 1, 2014. Accessed October 2, 2014.
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arthur fry
Arthur Fry was born in Minnesota. He began working for 3M while he was attending the University of Minnesota. Though he and Silver did not directly work together, Fry was aware of Silver's work and attended a seminar on the unusual adhesive. While singing in church, Fry became irritated with his bookmark as it kept falling out of his hymnal. That was the moment the idea of the Post-It Note came about. To this day, Fry holds the title of Corporate Scientist at 3M.
"Art Fry." 2YC3. Accessed October 1, 2014.
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driving force
"Spencer Silver." NNBD. January 1, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2014.
Spencer Silver and Arthur Fry were very different men and, therefore, had very different reasons behind their invention. Silver was very career oriented and, as he stated in an interview with CNN, "It was part of my job as a researcher to develop new adhesives, and at that time we wanted to develop bigger, stronger, tougher adhesives." While Silver was hired by 3M to experiment with adhesive blends, Fry enjoyed creating new things simply for the love of inventing. He credits the adversity and change he experienced as a child in the different areas he lived in for his success as an engineer and inventor.
"Art Fry." 2YC3. Accessed October 1, 2014.
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https://asunews.asu.edu/files/imagecache/story_main_image/images/Silver4web.jpg.
https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7095/7337766670_2c60e22187_z.jpg.
http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/8027e598-fd05-11df-ae2d-00144feab49a.img.
By providing users with an
affordable and versatile tool for studying, communicating, and self-expression
, the serendipitous invention of the Post-It Note revolutionized study and work habits and influenced social, economic, and environmental trends.
By providing users with an affordable and versatile tool for studying, communicating, and self-expression, the serendipitous invention of the Post-It Note
revolutionized study and work habits
and influenced social, economic, and environmental trends.
By providing users with an affordable and versatile tool for studying, communicating, and self-expression, the serendipitous invention of the Post-It Note revolutionized study and work habits and
influenced social, economic, and environmental trends
.
http://www.topdesignmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/3m-logo-innovation-slogan.jpg.
3M is a large company and is famous for its numerous inventions and patents. In May of this year, 3M's patent count exceeded 100,000. This company holds patents for many famous products such as Scotch Tape, Post-It Notes, and the reflective material used on street signs to make them visible at night. Incredibly, it took the inventors of the Post-It Note nearly six years to convince the 3M executives to give the Post-It Note a chance and another few years to conduct sample markets.
"3M Patent Count Crosses 100,000 Milestone." Zacks Investment Research. May 9, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2014. http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/133086/3M-Patent-Count-Crosses-100000-Milestone.
Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
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Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
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Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
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Post-It Notes have gained a reputation for being a great tool for communication. Writing a note on a sticky note can be personal for the reader while providing the writer the sense of security that makes digital communication so attractive. Administrator, author, and educator Ben Johnson explained discusses his experience with using sticky notes to communicate with students and faculty; "Even email and texting have not replaced a well-placed sticky note for powerful communication."
Johnson, Ben. "Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note." Edutopia. September 10, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson.
Johnson, Ben. "Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note." Edutopia. September 10, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson.
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Art is one of the greatest forms of self-expression. The Post-It Note opened new doors for artists and impacted various art styles including wall art, origami, and flip-books.
http://d51ck0gypsxpo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/images/Nyan-Nyan-Cat-Post-It-Note-art.png.
http://blog.catchmyparty.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/post-it-note-art.jpg.
http://sobadsogood.com/uploads/media/2014/03/09/brilliant-post-it-notes-artwork-around-the-world-8.jpg.
wall art
http://www.lazyboneuk.com/product_images/uploaded_images/O/origamistickynotesb.gif.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VePK7Sl5edM/UXxf47pF0hI/AAAAAAAADnw/DpJ8t2T9nVg/s1600/DSCN5812.JPG
origami
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/45/05/25/4505251834bbe3a714ad4d5c8f3918cf.jpg.
http://i.ytimg.com/vi/txj6nIixIq4/hqdefault.jpg.
http://www.suck.uk.com/binary_data/8504_620x250banner-flipnotes.jpg.
flip books
Post-It Notes are frequently used in both school and work environments. From writing memos and taking notes to organizing and tabbing papers, the invention of sticky notes significantly increased the ease of many daily tasks. Several studies show that students and employees are more productive and share ideas more openly using sticky notes as a medium.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sOFAT-W8Jag/TnpcFiXqZRI/AAAAAAAAAH8/fTZmoL6j4sM/s320/DSC09008.JPG
Johnson, Ben. "Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note." Edutopia. September 10, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson.
Sibbet, David. 2010. Visual meetings how graphics, sticky notes, & idea mapping can transform group productivity. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
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http://cdn.instructables.com/FJI/91XY/H71GLQ3Q/FJI91XYH71GLQ3Q.LARGE.jpg.
Politics
Lau, Joyce. "Art Spawned by Hong Kong Protest; Now to Make It Live On." The New York Times. November 14, 2014. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/world/asia/rescuing-protest-artwork-from-hong-kongs-streets.html?_r=0.
Post-it Notes
Lau, Joyce. "Art Spawned by Hong Kong Protest; Now to Make It Live On." The New York Times. November 14, 2014. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/world/asia/rescuing-protest-artwork-from-hong-kongs-streets.html?_r=0.
Sticky notes are often used to edit speeches and other important documents which have serious impacts on the political world. Post-It Notes have also been used in various protests and demonstrations as a medium for people to express their frustrations with. Just a month ago Post-It Notes were used by demonstrators supporting democracy in Hong Kong. The protestors created a collage out of sticky notes just outside of the government headquarters.
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Economy
Sticky notes have a large market and a significant impact on national and global economies. 3M produces about 50 billion Post-It Notes every year! At Office Depot's listed price of $1.29 per 100-sheet pad of Post-It Notes, the product generates over $645 million in sales per year.
"Post-it® 3" X 3" Notes, Canary Yellow, Pad Of 100 Sheets." Post It 3 X 3 Notes Canary Yellow Pad Of 100 Sheets by Office Depot. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/941880/Post-it-3-x-3-Notes/.
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"Post-it® 3" X 3" Notes, Canary Yellow, Pad Of 100 Sheets." Post It 3 X 3 Notes Canary Yellow Pad Of 100 Sheets by Office Depot. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/941880/Post-it-3-x-3-Notes/.
Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
social
This article discusses the origin of the Post-It Note, its inventors, and gives some modern facts about it and 3M. The article also contains some great quotes from the inventors themselves. Spencer Silver discusses how his discovery was seen as a failure for a long time.
It was very beneficial reading an article that was written by an educator. It helped me see even more ways that the Post-It Note impacts the classroom. This source was also great because the author approached the subject from the perspective of a teacher as well as the perspective of an employer. He discussed how sticky notes can be used in the classroom, but also how they can be used to increase productivity.
This site was just the Office Depot sales site. It was surprisingly difficult to find a single pack of Post-It Notes for sale; they are mostly sold in pack of 4 or 12.
This article was really fascinating; I had never heard anything about this protest. I really like creativity these demonstrators used to make their point. Not only does a creative peaceful protest promote non-violent ways of being heard, it also draws a great deal of attention.
Originally intended to be used as a bookmark, the Post-It Note has expanded to become a very versatile tool. It's been used to make reminders and to-do lists, edit papers, and even make origami art.
Glass, Nick, and Tim Hume. "The 'hallelujah Moment' behind the Invention of the Post-it Note." CNN. April 14, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/tech/post-it-note-history/.
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https://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma1w1bHv2C1r43522o1_500.jpg.
The social and cultural impacts of the Post-It Note are massive and widespread. Sticky notes have become an alternative to face-to-face communication, as well as an alternative to violent protests. This simple product has become a means of getting one's voice heard without ever truly speaking, as seen in the recent Hong Kong sticky note protest (pictured above, right).
http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1404931/hong-kong-post-it-notes.jpg.
$1.29 per pack of 100 sheets

Art form

Study tool

Work tool
environmental impacts
"Frequent Questions | Paper Recycling." EPA. February 28, 2014. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm#staples.
Because of the dye in the Post-It Notes and the adhesive that is applied to them, many recycling mills are unable to process and recycle Post-It Notes. However, to minimize their impact on the environment, 3M sells a line of Post-It Notes that are made from recycled paper.
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Lau, Joyce. "Art Spawned by Hong Kong Protest; Now to Make It Live On." The New York Times. November 14, 2014. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/world/asia/rescuing-protest-artwork-from-hong-kongs-streets.html?_r=0.
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"Post-it® 3" X 3" Notes, Canary Yellow, Pad Of 100 Sheets." Post It 3 X 3 Notes Canary Yellow Pad Of 100 Sheets by Office Depot. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/941880/Post-it-3-x-3-Notes/.
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Johnson, Ben. "Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note." Edutopia. September 10, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson.
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Sibbet, David. 2010. Visual meetings how graphics, sticky notes, & idea mapping can transform group productivity. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
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Increases productivity

Allows ideas to be shared more easily

Boosts morale in the classroom and office
"CollaborationCentral." Collaboration Central. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/PostItNA/Home/Ideas/Collaboration-Central/.
Johnson, Ben. "Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note." Edutopia. September 10, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson.
Sibbet, David. 2010. Visual meetings how graphics, sticky notes, & idea mapping can transform group productivity. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

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Used in protests and demonstrations

Generates over half a billion dollars in sales

Not recyclable in most recycling mills
"Post-it® 3" X 3" Notes, Canary Yellow, Pad Of 100 Sheets." Post It 3 X 3 Notes Canary Yellow Pad Of 100 Sheets by Office Depot. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/941880/Post-it-3-x-3-Notes/.
Lau, Joyce. "Art Spawned by Hong Kong Protest; Now to Make It Live On." The New York Times. November 14, 2014. Accessed December 10, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/world/asia/rescuing-protest-artwork-from-hong-kongs-streets.html?_r=0.
"Frequent Questions | Paper Recycling." EPA. February 28, 2014. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm#staples.
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Various Origami Shapes: http://www.lazyboneuk.com/product_images/uploaded_images/O/origamistickynotesb.gif.

Origami Bird: http://cdn.instructables.com/FJI/91XY/H71GLQ3Q/FJI91XYH71GLQ3Q.LARGE.jpg.

Question Mark Flip Book: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/txj6nIixIq4/hqdefault.jpg.

Planetary Flip Book: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/45/05/25/4505251834bbe3a714ad4d5c8f3918cf.jpg.

Flip Book Sticky Notes: http://www.suck.uk.com/binary_data/8504_620x250banner-flipnotes.jpg.

Post-It Love Notes: https://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma1w1bHv2C1r43522o1_500.jpg.

Post-It Note Protest: http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1404931/hong-kong-post-it-notes.jpg.

Question Mark Flip Book: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/txj6nIixIq4/hqdefault.jpg

To Buy List: http://andreadekker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/grocery-list.jpg.

Origami Swan: http://www.origami-resource-center. com/images/EasyOrigamiMontrollPigeon.jpg.
The marketing team for 3M didn't know if Post-It Notes would be successful in the real world so they decided to do a sample market. The sample market they chose was Boise, ID. This incredibly large sampling effort was given the nickname 'The Boise Blitz.' It was a success with 90% of those who had sampled the product reporting that they would buy it.
Boise blitz
"1978 -- POST-IT NOTES -- 3M." Manufacturing Engineer 83, no. 5 (October 2004): 36. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2014). http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=c44c841c-b87d-416e-960d-edf659a3e6d7%40sessionmgr114&vid=6&hid=126
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