It’s hard to trust anything that is said about environmental friendliness. After all, I’ve heard that hybrid cars have a worse overall carbon profile than gas powered cars, that paper consumes significantly fewer trees than people believe, and that carbon offset programs are all mostly public relations BS. But there is real truth in the power of repurposing.
There are many flavors of repurposing. Some companies can profit by actively shopping out their patent portfolio. Some companies can fail in one market but succeed in another with different positioning. Some people accidentally stumble on a profitable use of a random invention (like Post It adhesive and Silly Putty). And many consumers get new life out of old goods or completely new value from something that is completely unintended.
On a whim, I did some searches to see if I could find some good examples of repurposing and here’s some highlights of what I found, some of these I’m sure you’re aware of:
- Botox was originally created to address muscle spasms before it’s cosmetic use
- The microwave oven was created from Radar technology
- Superglue was the result of research during WWII to develop a clear plastic gunsight
- Cognac was the result of attempts to reduce the shipping expenses of wine
- Corningware was originally intended for just cookware, but its heat resistent properties have made it a candidate for multiple other uses, including ballistic missiles.
- And of course, duct tape was meant to seal ducts, not make wallets.