So…I’m reading World Class Learners by Yong Zhao and I stumbled upon a practical example of what it means to be an “intrapreneur.” Zhao makes the argument that educational institutions are “narrowing curriculum” due to National Curricula and Standardized Testing. His concern is rooted in the belief that if students are not given an opportunity to create for a purpose and solve real world problems, then we are in danger of limiting their minds for discovery, future employment, and the ability to adapt to a world that is redefining itself daily.
It is becoming more and more common to see blog posts and Tweets about design thinking and the importance of inquiry and innovation. I like Zhao’s simple, yet “sticky” example of the potential impact individuals can have when connecting ideas to solve problems. I can’t imagine not being able to “post-it.”
Art Fry and Spencer Silver, co-creators of the Post-it notes, are called “model intrapreneurs” by Petroski in his recount of how Post-it notes came into existence and became such a huge success. Art Fry, a chemical engineer at 3M, had a problem with his bookmarking procedure. He had been using scraps of paper to mark the pages in his hymnal so he could quickly locate the songs. But the loose scraps of paper would fall out of their places after the first use, which naturally resulted in problems locating the songs as Fry had planned. Fry certainly was not the only human being who had encountered such a problem, but he was the first person who came up with a solution. He remembered a product created by Spencer Silver, also a 3M researcher. Silver came upon an adhesive that is strong and yet easily removed several years earlier, but no one had come up with a use of it despite Silver’s belief in its commercial value. Connecting his dissatisfaction with his bookmarking method and Silver’s adhesive, Fry came up with the idea of making sticky bookmarks that could be easily removed without damaging the book.
Zhao, Yong (2012-06-26). World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (pp. 78-79). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.