In the late 1960s, 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver had a problem. After years of tinkering with formulas for super-strong adhesives, he inadvertently created a mixture for a reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. Though the concoction was objectively unique, Silver struggled to find any real-world application and his creation was put on a shelf.
Seven years later, fellow 3M researcher Art Fry had a different problem: getting his bookmark to stay in his hymnbook at church. After some brainstorming and collaboration with Dr. Silver, both problems were solved and Post-It notes were born.
If there’s a singular lesson to take away from this parable of office supplies it’s that inspiration and subsequent innovation can come from anywhere. 3M knows this, and so does Exelon.
Chicago-based Exelon is the largest electric parent company in the United States serving approximately 10 million customers and operating a variety of power plants across the country. Every year, Exelon hosts what has come to be known as The Innovation Expo. The Expo is a company-wide event for Exelon employees to show off their inner innovator and bring together industry experts for a one-of-a-kind celebration of ideas.
“Employees are on the front lines, doing their job by serving customers—that tends to be where the best ideas come,” says Exelon’s Senior Vice President Strategy and Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer Chris Gould. “Innovation’s about empowering employees to go take a shot and have the courage to come forward with new ways.”
Employee projects included virtual reality safety training, artificial intelligence, Smart Grid technologies, and various advanced modeling programs. For more examples, check out the video below.
GEI is proud to include Exelon and their Innovation Expo in our EnergyInnovates initiative and can’t wait for the exciting developments to come!