3M UK and Ireland's £2 million state-of-the-art new Customer Innovation Centre (CIC) was launched by physicist and television and radio science presenter, Professor Brian Cox, at a glittering event on Thursday 4 September.
3M's chairman, president and chief executive officer, Inge Thulin, hosted the event in Bracknell, Berkshire, which was attended by more than 100 high profile customers, including senior representatives from the NHS, Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco, National Grid, Unilever, Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin as well as representatives from local and national government and academic institutions.
In his welcome speech, Inge Thulin said: "We have done business in the UK and Ireland since 1951 and it is one of our most successful subsidiaries."
Professor Brian Cox followed with a thought-provoking presentation covering quantum mechanics, extra-terrestrial life and advances on the Big Bang theory and took questions from the floor. He said: "It is a genuine pleasure to be here. I didn't know that staff at 3M can spend 15 per cent of their time on blue sky research and this freedom of thought in a big corporation is a great thing."
When asked how much of his time he spends 'dreaming', Professor Cox said: "Not as much as I would like, but probably about 15 per cent which would make me a 3M type of employee."
Talking about the CIC, Professor Cox said: "It is a wonderful facility. I use 3M products already, but have discovered more, such as a self-sharpening abrasive product that acts like the rings around Saturn which stay bright as they have constant collisions in space."
Guests then had the chance to explore the CIC and enjoy some novel refreshments - including bespoke cocktails, mini burgers and fish and chips and edible mist - and were entertained by the Urban Soul Orchestra, a hand magician and silhouette cutting using black Post-it® Notes.
Managing director Paul Keel said: "The CIC represents the output of thousands of hours of collaboration and interesting technologies that have delivered innovations such as a stethoscope that can monitor astronauts in space, materials that can make concrete float and liquids that are dry.
"It gives us a brilliant opportunity to share our story of innovation and collaboration and the ideal space to work closely with our customers to provide solutions for tomorrow."
View more photos on the CIC Customer Launch Event Flickr pages.