Inge Thulin


As if it were a mantra, the Swedish-born CEO of 3M has for years been calling research and development “the symbolic heartbeat of the company.” To show how seriously he embraces it, Inge Thulin in March unveiled a $150 million state-of-the-art research and development center at the industrial supplies manufacturer’s Maplewood campus. By co-locating hundreds of scientists from dozens of backgrounds into one space, Thulin hopes to amplify 3M’s development of new patents—which tallies at more than 3,000 annually for the last decade. The same cross-disciplinary approach was implemented at 3M’s new Design Center—yet another investment Thulin expects will pay off in 2017 and beyond.