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  • Eileen McDargh

How to Turn Failure into Success


 How to Turn Failure into Success

I’m betting that few people knew Spencer Ferguson Silver III who died May 8, 2021, at his home in Minneapolis. But I am willing to bet you have used a product that was the result of his failure: Post-It-Notes.

Silver was a senior chemist for 3M, focusing on creating a strong adhesive that could be used in aircraft construction. Alas, that outcome failed but his work did result in an adhesive grip that was strong enough to hold papers together but weak enough to allow papers to be pulled apart without tearing them. However, it took another 3M engineer, Art Fry, to see the possibility of Silver’s adhesive as a way of keeping paper bookmarks from falling out of his hymnal when he sang. Fry patented Post-It™ as we know it in 1993. How’s that for a bonanza!

Here is the resiliency lesson. Adaptability expands when we ask others to see what we do not see. The more creativity is brought to a situation, the better are the chances for success. Just decide ahead of time who gets the credit.