The lipstick and the airline – a story of innovation
Posted by Giles Lury on August 31, 2012
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Probably everyone working in innovation knows the story of the invention of Post-it notes, but I came across another sticky innovation story the other day which I hadn’t heard before but which is equally engaging
Wolfgang Zengerling, former head archivist at Henkel AG, says that the inspiration for the world’s first glue stick was an airline flight and a passenger who was putting on her make-up.
The story goes that one of Henkel’s chemists, who was working in the adhesives business, was travelling to a meeting on a plane. Sitting next to him was a woman who, as they came into land, started to put on some make-up.
The chemist was intrigued and was particularly fascinated by the way she applied her lipstick. He watched her twist the bottom of the tube, which pushed the lipstick up and just out of the top, so she could easily apply it. No fuss, no messy colour on her hands and a nice smooth even finish.
The creative leap he made was to ask himself why can’t glue be as easy to handle and apply as lipstick.
Pritt Stick, the world’s first gluestick, was launched in 1969 and is still going strong today.
Which for me poses a question - why is it the glues get all the good innovation stories?