Driftwood Group

Sticky Inspiration

Sticky Inspiration

Sticky Inspiration you say?

“Our goal is to change the world with a Sharpie & Post-it Notes.”

That’s the mission of this collaboration of artist Reggie Black and ex-Napster specialist Stephanie Norton.

When I heard about them and their idea it got me thinking….

The humble Post-it Note was created in the mid 1970’s at 3M, although it’s origins lay in an obscure R&D program working on novel adhesives in the 60’s. And the world has never been quite the same since.

At Driftwood, we work with many innovator clients, especially in the Tech sector. It doesn’t matter if it’s Pharma, Biotech, IT-startup, Engineeering Consultancy, Design Collective, Media Company or plain old Office Supply firm – every single one of these organisations has one thing in common – the Post-it Note.

I know people who smother their desktop screens in them for when they’re cold-calling – ‘Scripities’, one guy calls them.

I know industrial design and architecture collectives, working on major infrastructure projects, or tiny medical devices, who use the Post-it principle when it comes to change-tracking.

I’ve worked with R&D teams who write up novel ideas on Post-it notes, screw them up, put them in a hat and draw them out as a sort of preliminary stage-gate lottery.

And in the Tech space, I travel from funky office to funky office, with glass partitions all patchworked with multicolour Post-it graffiti.

We used them for staff incentives, and we took a leaf out of the R&D handbook and the bucket lottery above. Once a month, we gathered up all the staff and stuck them in the boardroom, their task – write down three things we can do for a fun team-building exercise on Friday afternoons when we hit our monthly target. The easiest way to do this – Sharpie and Post-it Note.

Then, when you’ve all got your (highly confidential) incentive ideas written down, screw up those bits of sticky paper, and chuck them in our magic bucket!

Next month, when we knock that target out of the park, the staff member with the best figures gets to be the lotto machine, drawing out one new idea for our Friday escape.

I think it was the best thing we ever did to bring the team together. Aside from the time when I lost the bucket, and we improvised by putting the notes in balloons, blowing them up and then the lucky punter gets to pop the surprise when the end of month rolls round.

Regardless, those simple little notes are used worldwide to innovate, design, code, construct, measure, play and track projects as they progress.

It amazes me every time I see a new company engaged in some cutting-edge tech development that, more often than not, the Post-it Note is at the core of the development process. It has to be the most transformative invention ever created – we haven’t had to bother tearing up paper into little notes, or ripping pages out of a notebook since 1977 (1980 if you’re only counting the ones branded Post-it).

And it can transform every process, from cold-call scripting, to skyscraper design, to software coding, to team-building, even art creation it seems.

So what can you change about your world, with a Sharpie, and a Post-it Note…?



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Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly

Alex is a Director at Driftwood Group | Occasional Recruiter | Amateur Wordsmith | Career Interventionist