Original question from Quora:

What are some of the greatest innovative ideas?

My Answer:

One of the greatest innovative ideas often sits right under your nose and you’d never even consider just how wonderfully brilliant it is.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even designed to be as brilliant as it is. Yet, it probably saves hundreds, maybe thousands of lives each year.

And it’s a household name.

It’s the….

The disposable handkerchief.

Also known more popularly as the Kleenex.

Think about it. Humans sneeze. Kids get runny noses. And left unchecked it’s pretty much mucus everywhere right?

And for hundreds of years people solved this with a handkerchief. Seems reasonable enough. For a long time my dad always carried one.

But carrying a cloth handkerchief is carrying around a ball of germs in your pocket. It’s super disgusting.

Then in the consumer world of the 20th century, along comes disposable paper products and with it, the disposable handkerchief.

Now kids, adults, men, women, grandparents, etc. all have something to handle sneezes, runny noses, and nosebleeds in a way that isn’t going to spread germs and disease nearly as much.

And unlike so many innovations, paper is recyclable, biodegradable, and renewable. So really, what more can you ask for?

It’s completely brilliant.


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