Playing with Glue


Look around. How many things are broken, or close to breaking? How many different glues or tapes to you have on hand to fix these problems? (Or will you just trash and replace the broken products?) What if there was a glue that could fix virtually everything that breaks – ceramic, wood, glass, metal, wire cables, and even create new uses for products along with creating a prosthetic chicken leg?

Sounds pretty unbelievable, but the product is real and it’s called Sugru – a moldable glue (looks similar to Play-Doh) that can be shaped into virtually anything. Once in place, Sugru dries to a silicone type of rubbery finish. Easy to use, and easy to grip.

Sugru was developed by an Irish entrepreneur as part of a project while in college working on degrees in fine arts and product design. It was not an overnight success though. While the product was immediately well-received, it took a number of years to get investments, and to survive a recession. However, in 2009, Sugru launched on social media by sending samples to technology bloggers. The result: It went viral. When the company introduced its Web site in 2009, all 1,000 packages sold out within six hours and another 2,000 were placed on backorder. This year, sales are expected to exceed $10 million.

Check it out. Need anything glued? (BTW – the prosthetic chicken leg is real.)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is broken in their lives that needs to be fixed? How do they mend these items?
  1. Show students the Web site:

  1. There are additional videos posted by users of the product on Sugru’s YouTube channel:
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team brainstorm on new uses for Sugru.
  3. Discuss the product life cycle. Place standard glues and tapes on the PLC. Now, place Sugru on the PLC. What did the company do to reposition its product?
  4. Discuss positioning (perceptual) maps. Have teams place glues and tapes onto a perceptual map.
  5. Have students work in teams to determine the target market for Sugru.

Source: New York Times

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