cars and people at an electric charging station.
3M Forward

3M delivers unique, materials science-based solutions at scale to help build a brighter future

3M Forward video
6 minutes, 50 seconds.

3M Forward: How 3M Science is Shaping the Future

  • (DESCRIPTION) Logo. Text, 3M. Science. Applied to Life. (SPEECH) [MUSIC PLAYING] (DESCRIPTION) Dr. Jayshree Seth, 3M Corporate Scientist & Chief Science Advocate. (SPEECH) Transformative trends and unstoppable global forces impact us all, businesses, economies, industries, societies, and individuals. (DESCRIPTION) Text, Megatrends. Climate change and resource scarcity. Shifting demographics and social change. Convergence of the physical and digital world. (SPEECH) These megatrends, they represent broad and global shifts, like climate change, demographic swings, social change, and the digital revolution. While these forces can create vast changes and challenges with the potential to impact daily life, they also represent enormous opportunity for people, communities, governments, and corporations to reimagine the future. (DESCRIPTION) An image of Planet Earth from space. (SPEECH) Addressing global challenges is where 3M thrives. (DESCRIPTION) A scientist looks through a microscope. Scientists in a lab. Wind turbines rotate in a field. Long rows of solar panels. The sun shines above a mountain range. (SPEECH) And 3M Forward demonstrates how we combine science, innovation, and collaboration to drive progress and deliver solutions that improve lives and build a brighter future. (DESCRIPTION) Dr. Jayshree Seth. Automated machinery during production. (SPEECH) 3M is uniquely positioned to do so because of our reach, our size, and our global footprint that enable us to deliver science and scale. (DESCRIPTION) Scientists work in a lab. A green neon line moves around the perimeter of a round digital device as numbers change at the center. Orange lights glow in Europe and Northern Africa. (SPEECH) Not only do our scientists create innovative solutions, we can provide those solutions where they are most needed quickly around the world. (DESCRIPTION) Dr. Seth. (SPEECH) Applying science at scale is exactly how we can make a difference and improve lives. (DESCRIPTION) A graphic of a molecular formula. Text, 3M State of Science Index. (SPEECH) You don't need to be a scientist to appreciate the importance of science and its role in everyday lives of people around the world. (DESCRIPTION) A page depicts a city skyline behind a woman with a face mask. Text, 3M. Science. Applied to Life. A State of Science Index 2022 Global Report. 3M State of Science Index. Headlines include, Science Matters. 3M State of Science Index Manifesto. Evolution of the State of Science Index, Who and where we're surveying in 2022. (SPEECH) For the last six years, 3M has been tracking and analyzing public perception of science through our State of Science Index, research to understand how science is perceived by the public. (DESCRIPTION) Text, Science gets the credit for improving lives. 85% believe science has a critical role in improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable populations. 85% clearly see the connection between science and the role it plays in improving their life. (SPEECH) This year, 85% of people clearly see the connection between science and the role it plays in improving their lives. And 88% believe that in the future, we will be more dependent on scientific knowledge than ever before. We agree with them. (DESCRIPTION) Dr. Seth. (SPEECH) As we look toward the global challenges science can help solve, we at 3M are depending on our scientific knowledge to leverage our full capabilities to be part of the solution. (DESCRIPTION) Text, 3M Capabilities. (SPEECH) These capabilities include our research and development, deep customer relationships, and our global expertise. (DESCRIPTION) The 3M Global Headquarters. (SPEECH) These have guided our company for over a century and will be imperative for navigating the future and the megatrends shaping it. Learn more at about the forces shaping our future, the public perception of science, and how we at 3M are addressing global challenges with science and innovation. (DESCRIPTION) Logo. Text, 3M. Science. Applied to Life.

    Woman with tablet in a room full of servers

    Transformative, unstoppable global forces are shaping the world around us. These forces – identified as megatrends – can have far-reaching, disruptive impacts on businesses, economies, industries, societies and individuals that can last for decades. To better understand the source of these trends and their impact around the world, 3M is applying materials science-based innovations at scale to address climate change, demographic swings, social change and the digital revolution. 3M Forward demonstrates the ways science, innovation and collaboration enable our company to deliver unique, scalable solutions that help improve lives, drive progress and shape our world.

    Leveraging insights from the 2023 3M State of Science Index, a global, third-party research study that explores how people view a range of science-related topics, we can understand how the world sees these forces and the ways these trends are driving change in business and society. Understanding multiple megatrends can combine to have lasting impacts, 3M continues to deliver differentiated solutions in areas such as automotive electrification, climate tech, robotics and industrial automation and digitally enabled consumer solutions.

  • atom icon

    believe that in the future the world will be more dependent on scientific knowledge than ever before.

  • Icon of atom and head

    believe that science has a critical role in improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

  • (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M. Science. Applied to Life. Text, Megatrends. (SPEECH) [UPBEAT MUSIC] Megatrends like climate change and resource scarcity-- these relate to the global development and depletion of resources. (DESCRIPTION) People walk on a crowded city street. From above, a cracked ice sheet. (SPEECH) It has decreased the quality of life for many and led to significant levels of environmental damage. (DESCRIPTION) Text, People around the world agree that climate change brings severe consequences. (SPEECH) Our research confirms this is considered an issue of personal impact. 93% of the people are concerned about consequences of climate change. (DESCRIPTION) Bar chart titled "Top consequences of climate change." % selected. Extreme weather events, 56%, Lack of clean water, 41%, Long-term shift in weather and temperature patterns, 38%, Loss of biodiversity, 37%, Poor air quality, 34%. Text, Science and climate education are crucial to addressing sustainability challenges. (SPEECH) The good news is that 90% also think science can help minimize the effects of climate change. (DESCRIPTION) Text, #1 Priority for science to address, Increasing efforts to minimize and mitigate climate change. (SPEECH) This consensus helps drive positive action and a growing demand for innovative, sustainable, scalable, science-based solutions. (DESCRIPTION) 90% Say schools should provide education around climate change for students as a core part of their science curriculum. 90% Believe people should follow the science to help make the world more sustainable. (SPEECH) One way 3M is addressing this challenge is through alternative energy solutions, including developing a technology that could make the production of green hydrogen more efficient and cost-effective. (DESCRIPTION) From above, a solar farm, solar panels, from above, a forest, a flower blooms. A wind farm. (SPEECH) When produced using renewable electricity, green hydrogen could offer a more sustainable fuel source for sectors that are hard to decarbonize, like steel production and long-haul transport. (DESCRIPTION) A train crosses a trellis. (SPEECH) Learn more at about the forces shaping our future, the public perception of science, and how we at 3M are addressing global challenges with science and innovation. (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M. Science. Applied to Life.

    Arial view of shoreline

    Climate change and resource scarcity

    • While global development has decreased the quality of life for many and led to significant environmental risks and impact, our research shows 90 percent of people around the world think science can help minimize the effects of climate change.

    • As a leader in climate technology, 3M is harnessing materials science-based innovations to accelerate solutions that tackle some of the most pressing opportunities in climate change, including Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. 3M is partnering with Svante Technologies, Inc. to develop material that can trap carbon dioxide (CO2) found in the atmosphere and permanently remove it. By working with Svante, the world leader in the solid sorbent-based method of carbon capture, 3M is providing a proprietary material the company has named Sorbents-on-a-Roll - or SOAR, that are stacked in parallel layers in Svante's carbon capture filtration systems.

      Other ways 3M Science is addressing this challenge and advancing human progress is through our deep understanding of technologies including electronic systems, thermal management and computer vision to create solutions specifically designed to serve the growing global market for electric vehicles (EVs). 3M’s Automotive & Aerospace Division is making significant advancements in automotive electrification technologies. 3M technology helps advance lighter, more durable, energy-efficient connected vehicles. As a trusted partner of vehicle manufacturers around the globe, 3M offers a wide array of solutions to help advance battery performance such as thermal management, assembly, insulation and more. Innovation in the EV space is essential as society—and the automotive industry —continues to transition to more climate-friendly, lower carbon footprint options. Moreover, EVs generally offer a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), including vehicle cost, fuel cost, and maintenance, over the life of the vehicle.

      In addition to helping create the EVs of the future, 3M is engaged in using science for good by helping to create solutions that directly address alternate energy sources. Our Advanced Materials Division is applying materials science knowledge that could help make the production of green hydrogen more cost-effective and efficient. Leveraging support from the U.S. Department of Energy, 3M is developing a catalyst technology used in water electrolysis, which is the primary means of green hydrogen production. Since the catalyst technology reduces the use of rare and expensive precious metals while improving the efficiency and durability of the system, it can help improve the adoption and expansion of green hydrogen production.

solar panels and wind turbines on a blue background

93% are concerned about the consequences of climate change.

Electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars are among the top transportation innovations that people see having a positive impact in creating a more sustainable world.

  • (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M. Science. Applied to Life. Text, Megatrends. (SPEECH) Another mega trend is the shifting demographics in social change, exploring the evolution of consumer and social values in an ever-changing world, from rapid urbanization and population growth to aging population and labor shortages. (DESCRIPTION) Lights go out in skyscrapers at night. Time lapse, people walk on a crowded city sidewalk. An older man talks to an older woman propped up on a pillow with his arm around her neck. A sign reads, Sorry, We're closed. (SPEECH) At 3M, we're optimizing the manufacturing process in automotive manufacturing with our 3M Finesse-It Robotic Paint Repair System, which enables robots to efficiently identify and eliminate defects throughout the manufacturing process. (DESCRIPTION) The buffer on a machine buffs a surface. A provider in a lab coat and stethoscope at a desk looks at a computer. (SPEECH) In our health care business, the Clinician Solutions Portfolio helps to reduce administrative burdens on health care professionals so they can spend more time focused on their patients. (DESCRIPTION) A provider at a patient's bedside. (SPEECH) At 3M we understand how people's needs are changing. So we focus on creating solutions across industries to help anticipate and accommodate those needs. Learn more at about the forces shaping our future, the public perception of science, and how we at 3M are addressing global challenges with science and innovation. (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M. Science. Applied to Life.

    woman working at a whiteboard

    Shifting demographics and social change

    • Defining global demographic factors such as age, race, income and education are continually shifting and changing over time. These changes significantly influence local and global cultural, economic and business decisions. Today, uneven demographic trajectories are leading to labor shortages. The rate of urbanization continues to grow as the world turns to technology to redefine the future of work and consumerism.

      To address labor challenges within manufacturing while improving productivity and quality, 3M is introducing automated technologies like the 3M™ Finesse-it™ Robotic Paint Repair System, which works with third-party vision systems to automatically identify and repair common paint defects on automotive production lines.

      As consumers contemplate climate issues and more people work from home, indoor air quality begins to come into sharper focus. Our Consumer & Home Improvements Markets Division is educating consumers about the importance of air quality and offering the Filtrete™ Smart HVAC Air Filter as a solution to help improve it. This state-of-the-art filter is designed to help remove allergens and other microscopic particles, like bacteria and viruses, from the air in homes. Its Bluetooth® sensor monitors airflow and usage, alerting the user when it’s time to change the filter, while the app also delivers active tips on how to improve the indoor air quality in their home.

    • Additionally, 3M is advancing economic equity through investment in nonprofit partnerships that support 5 million STEM and Skilled Trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.

City on a blue background.

92% see a consequence if their country cannot find a solution to the shortage of skilled trade workers.

For people around the world, a top concern and consequence of climate change is poor air quality.

  • (SPEECH) [UPBEAT MUSIC] (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M Science. Applied to Life. Text, Megatrends. (SPEECH) And finally, we have the trend of convergence of the physical and digital world, where software, sensors, artificial intelligence, and human-machine interface make up an evolving global ecosystem. (DESCRIPTION) A woman wears glasses with screens in them. Cars speed down intersecting freeways and roundabouts. A woman in a hard-hat pulls a sled through a warehouse. (SPEECH) It powers industry, commerce, and our daily lives. (DESCRIPTION) A child sits on an adult's shoulders near wind turbines. They spread out their arms as the wind blows past them. Text, People recognize AI benefits, but understanding of mixed reality is low. (SPEECH) And based on our research, even the general public recognizes that. 85% of people believe companies need to embrace digital transformation to remain relevant to consumers and employees. This trend is here to stay. And 3M is driving the ongoing digital revolution by making advances in connectivity, sensors, and robotic technologies to enable new opportunities for growth and efficiency across industries. (DESCRIPTION) Robotic arms craft computer chips. A VR headset. (SPEECH) Take, for instance, augmented reality and virtual reality, AR and VR. These are expected to transform how we work, play, and interact with one another. (DESCRIPTION) People stand in circular stations with headsets on and controls in their hands. A round black eyepiece with a white interior. (SPEECH) We are leading the way with innovative pancake optics, a 3M technology that is only scratching the surface of what's possible. (DESCRIPTION) A woman wears a VR headset in a medical exam room. (SPEECH) As a supplier of this optical technology for headsets, 3M is a leader for unlocking AR and VR's potential. (DESCRIPTION) Lightning strikes from dark thunder clouds. (SPEECH) At 3M, we know that disruption can offer new opportunities. And we believe science has the potential to solve even the toughest global challenges. (DESCRIPTION) Models of molecules float in space. Scientists write on a clear board in a lab. (SPEECH) No one is better positioned to unlock the power of people, ideas, and science to reimagine what's possible. Together, we can deliver science at scale to build a brighter tomorrow for all. Learn more at about the forces shaping our future, the public perception of science, and how we at 3M are addressing global challenges with science and innovation. (DESCRIPTION) Logo, 3M Science. Applied to Life. The 3 and M are red.

    woman working in a lab

    Convergence of the physical and digital world

    • We live in a hybrid environment marked by a seamless blending of physical and digital consumer experiences. Companies are merging physical products with the digital worlds to create a holistic experience for consumers. Today’s digital capabilities are harnessed to meet physical needs.

      3M has a long history of innovating materials that make technology work. Our Display Materials & Systems Division is investing in building out the virtual reality (VR) of the future with pancake optics, which use 3M’s multi-layer optical films. For years, the bulky, heavy form of VR headsets has slowed consumer adoption. With pancake optics, 3M was able to reduce the overall headset size up to 50 percent while simultaneously improving image quality and resolution. These advancements are leading the next generation of optics and will help mixed reality reach new heights.

      Convergence is accelerating all around us, and we see it in solutions designed to speed the creation of almost everything. Our Industrial Adhesives and Tapes division, in collaboration with Nordson Corporation, has reimagined durable bonding with 3M™ VHB™ Extrudable Tape and the 3M™ On Demand Bonding System. This new, simple automated bonding solution easily integrates into a customer’s assembly line and provides efficiency, versatility, and sustainability. These innovations also lead to added benefits for consumers, such as shorter delivery times and lower production costs.

man in virtual reality goggles on a blue background

80% believe artificial intelligence (AI) can help build a more sustainable future.

When asked what jobs make up the skilled trades, only 40% of people around the world said automation technicians were part of the skilled trades.