A Culture of
For more than a century, innovation has been the hallmark of 3M’s growth, reflecting a culture of shared ideas and technology. 3M Innovation enables 3M to continuously deliver practical and ingenious solutions to everyday problems around the world on a daily basis.
Research & Development:
3M invests generously in research & development to fuel the innovation pipeline. Throughout history, many great thinkers have embraced the maxim that the best way to predict the future is to create it. In this regard, 3M’s business model is to foster organic growth by inventing new products that previously did not exist. This business model has led not only to new products, but also the creation of new industries, such as coated abrasives, pressure sensitive tapes, nonwoven respirators and fluoromaterials. In order to foster such growth, the company recognizes the value of Research & Development (R&D) and allocates approximately six percent of its yearly revenue to R&D.
Introduced in 2009, the 3M™ Littman® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transfer heart, lung and other body sounds to software for further analysis.
In 2008, 3M pioneered the pocket projector with the introduction of the 3M™ MPro110 — a handheld digital projector designed for business, entertainment and versatile field applications. (3M™ MPro150 shown above.)
3M encourages risk-taking and persistence.
In today’s fast-paced, pressure-packed business climate, many companies take a very short-term approach to the new product development pipeline. Because innovation does not occur on a set timeline, 3M takes a different path — thanks in large part to the principles that former CEO, William L. McKnight instilled in the company. McKnight believed in the imperatives of hiring the right people, tolerating mistakes and giving employees freedom to explore in order to foster a culture of innovation. 3M has put the McKnight Principles into practice by encouraging employees to dedicate a significant portion of their time to projects and research that go beyond their core responsibilities. Although it may take years for such innovative “tinkering” to bear fruit, the results of 3M’s storied 15 Percent Time are truly remarkable. Examples include Scotch® Brand Tapes, Post-it® Notes, Scotchgard™ Fabric Protector, automobile window treatment films, multilayer optical films and silicon adhesive systems for transdermal drug delivery.
3M tinkered with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material for eight years before perfecting the technology. Over the decades, its uses multiplied and spurred the creation of its own division in 1943, grossing about $10 million by 1953. Today, Scotchlite reflective material is still a profitable product for 3M’s Safety, Security, and Protection Services Business, as well as for the Industrial and Transportation Business.
3M Corporate Scientists utilized 3M’s 15 Percent Time and Genesis Grants to invent Multilayer Optical Films. 3M’s Multilayer Optical Films have grown into an entire light management technology platform that is utilized in multiple 3M products sold in five different divisions.
Filtek™ Supreme, a dental product that easily matches natural tooth color, was a huge risk for 3M because it utilized nanotechnology at a time when its success was largely unproven. The risk paid off. 3M is now a leading dental composite provider around the world.
3M Non-Woven Technology Platforms
Over the years, the 3M nonwovens technology platform has migrated across several industries and has been applied to create hundreds of 3M products.
3M creates uncommon connections with access to multiple 3M technologies. No company can match the breadth and depth of 3M’s 45 technology platforms in as many combinations, for as many purposes across as many geographies. With more than 55,000 products, 3M continues to...