Simple ideas can create incredible results
When we talk about the influence of technology in our lives, we often think of the most cutting-edge thing. This could include the latest generation of computers, spaceships, artificial intelligence, communication networks, the Internet of Things, and high-end mobile devices. However, the most straightforward and everyday objects are also technological products: such as books, clothes, or pens. These things have not always been there. They arose as a result of an invention to solve a specific problem or were simply discovered by mere chance. These inventions were also cutting-edge technology at the time, however simple they may seem.
An interesting case was the refillable ink cartridges. Rev. Bernard McCoy found the ink cartridges for his printer costly. He decided together with his colleagues to put their hands to work and decided to refill the cartridges with ink made by themselves and then market them. Despite a humble beginning, they went on to bill amounts over 6 figures. Although this idea was not patented, it proliferated. It allowed companies like HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Xerox (NYSE: XRX) to integrate refillable ink cartridges into their product catalogue. It changed the way we print. This was a positive point for consumers who could save a few dollars.
The genius of some people allows them to turn a failure into a million-dollar idea. Let’s take the case of the popular Post-It. Few people do not know it or have not used it at some point in their lives, but how did its history begin? Spencer Silver was a scientist at 3M (NYSE: MMM), specializing in adhesives. He created a glue that would be used for the production of the Post-It Note. But, at the time it was initially created, it was discarded for its commercialization by the company because it did not fulfill its function, which was to “stick well.” Later, his colleague Arthur Fry came up with the Post-It Note and used this glue to develop it because it did not leave marks or residues on the surface where it was used. Then 3M marketed them in 1980, and the result we all know: billions of units sold around the world. This is a clear example of how taking a failed idea and product as a complement to develop an excellent idea, which can generate spectacular results.
However simple an idea may be, we must consider that the ingenuity to innovate is as old as humanity. Indeed, the constant curiosity to learn and change our environment and improve our lives is what makes us human.