|The primary reason for 3M's success is the
people of 3M. This company has been blessed with generations of imaginative, industrious
employees in al parts of the enterprise, all around the world. I hope you'll join us in
celebrating not only a Century of Innovation, but also a century of talented and
Much of 3M's rich culture
comes from the principles that former President and Chairman of the Board William L.
McKnight set forth. McKnight believed "management that is destructively critical when
mistakes are made kills initiative. It's essential that we have many people with
initiative if we are to continue to grow." It is this growth that continues to make
3M a leader in the 21st century. Their achievements are the foundation of a
proud past and the bright future of many innovations to come.
The year 1902 held bright promise for five businessmen in Two Harbors,
Minnesota. They started Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) to mine what they
thought was corundum, a mineral ideal for making sandpaper and grinding wheels. The
mineral, however, turned out to be a low-grade anorthosite. Sales of the poor-quality
mineral were weak, and the company nearly failed -- but its founders persisted. They
persevered by closing the mine, moving to Duluth, Minnesota, and making sandpaper with
abrasive minerals purchased from another source. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Notes from The Great Idea
Scotch Tape from
The Great Idea Finder
Masking Tape from
The Great Idea Finder
Scotchgard from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Breakthrough Thinking at 3M
Rosabeth Moss Kanter / Hardcover - 209 pages / Harper
Business - 1997
While many managers still view creativity and originality in the workplace with
suspicion and apprehension, some of today's top corporations are parlaying these same
traits into notable long-term success.
Creating Breakthroughs at 3M
by Eric Von Hippel (Author), Stefan Thomke (Author), Mary Sonnack (Author) / Download
eBook(PDF) 442K, 9 digital pages / Harvard Business School Press (January 14, 2002)
The authors explain the process and how the 3M project team successfully navigated
through it. In the end, the team proposed three major new product lines and a change in
the division's strategy that has led to the development of breakthrough products.
Strategic Stories: How 3M Is Rewriting Business Planning
by Gordon Shaw (Author), Robert Brown (Author), Philip Bromiley (Author) / Download
eBook(PDF) 405K, 6 digital pages / Harvard Business School Press (January 14, 2002)
When people can locate themselves in the story, their sense of commitment and
involvement is enhanced. By conveying a powerful impression of the process of winning,
narrative plans can mobilize an entire organization.
3M Way to Innovation: Balancing People and Profit ( This title is out of print. )
by Ernest Gundling / Hardcover - 240 pages (February 2000) / Kodansha International
ON THE WEB:
The official Web site for 3M. This site has lots of COOKIES.
Creating innovative products and services that respond to customer needs has always been a
way of life at 3M.
This compilation presents some of the important milestones in 3M's history, based
on recollections of those who were major participants in these milestones.
Take a trip through time and learn more about the development of 3M and major
events in the company's history.
From the 1902 Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company through todays (3M) .
LESSONS TO LEARN:
William L. McKnight Management Principles
Created 3M's Corporate Culture
William L. McKnight joined Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing
Company in 1907 as an assistant bookkeeper. He quickly rose through the company, becoming
president in 1929 and chairman of the board in 1949. Many believe McKnight's greatest
contribution was as a business philosopher, since he created a corporate culture that
encourages employee initiative, innovation and provides secure employment.
His basic rule of management was laid out in 1948: "As
our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to
encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable
tolerance. Those men and women to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they
are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.
"Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially
right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes
management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do
"Management that is destructively critical when mistakes
are made kills initiative. And it's essential that we have many people with initiative if
we are to continue to grow.