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At 3M, Innovation Comes in Tweaks and Snips

by on March 9, 2010

This is a short interview with  Chief Executive, George Buckley from the 3M company. A few of his points impressed me:

It was finding ways to simplify how you make the lowest-cost high-performance respirator possible. We often think innovation is making a breakthrough at the top of the pyramid. That’s often not where the hardest challenges are. The hardest challenges are often: How do I make a breakthrough for next to nothing?

Everybody wants to find out how to control creativity. You can’t. Creativity comes from freedom, not control. We let all the people in the R&D community spend 15% of their time researching whatever they like.

I don’t know because it isn’t a process. [The quality-improvement process] Six Sigma’s worked wonderfully in our factories, but we tried it in our labs and it doesn’t work. It’s obvious why. The creative process, whether it is with me or anybody else,is a discontinuous process. You can’t say if I put more money in it I am going to get more out.

article from WSJ

Zheng Zhong

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From → Good to Know

One Comment
  1. I really like the fact that they are focussing on the basic aspects that to make a product successful they dont have to make it too grandiose and colorful.As long as it does the job well and reliably,there is no reason there is a market for it.

    Another comment which really stood was “Chris said we were doing this and that, but abrasives [were] not considered sexy. I said, “Why not? I think abrasives are sexy. Why can’t abrasives be sexy?” ”

    I think this comment is crucial since we always look at creativity as coming up with new ideas which no one has thought,ideas which sound like fun,stuff you can wow your friends about but here he clearly states that basic stuff like adhesives can also be very creative depending on how we view them.

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