1. From boring bubbles to a creative career inventing items throughout your home
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  • From boring bubbles to a creative career inventing items throughout your home

    By Sue Casement, 3M Storyteller and Eliot Popko, 3M Videographer

    “A problem is an opportunity.”

    Two women work in an open office environment

    • Sue Butzer struggled through the first six months of her career.

      She measured the amount of foam produced by soap pads. Again. And again. And again.

    • Sue Butzer, 3M product development specialist, works in her lab

      Sue was analyzing soap pads from competitors to see how they performed compared to 3M soap pads. She’s moved on to more exciting ventures – improving existing items you’d likely recognize and inventing new ones that might land in your home or office. One thing she’s learned during her more than three decades in product development? Not to get too attached. She’s helped launch a lot of successful products, but with the fast-moving consumer home and office markets, Sue sees a lot of them go quickly out of vogue, too. She’s worked on head cleaners for VCR’s, pop-up tape, office air filters and ergonomic devices.

      She’s currently focused on people who work in today’s smaller, more open-environment, office space – what she calls the “office cockpit.” As she works to improve their workday and workspace, she always has an eye on the problems they face.

      “I enjoy a problem,” says Sue. “If you didn’t have a problem, I wouldn’t have a job. A problem is an opportunity.”

      Sue earned her first 3M patent shortly after she tested all those foamy pads. She took on the assignment to find the best way to clean pans without scratching the non-stick coating. During the process, Sue asked herself what cleans without scratching. See her clever solution below.

    Still image from video showing Sue Butzer mentoring a young person
    View Video

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