Not all of the world’s most brilliant innovations were intentional. In many cases, an accident or mistake led to some creative thinking, which eventually became a new, hot product.

Such is the case with these products.

Post It NoteThe Post-It® Note
A 3M engineer named Spencer Silver was working one night in 1968. His goal was to invent a strong adhesive. Instead, he came up with the reusable “ but quite weak “ adhesive that a fellow 3M engineer by the name of Arthur Fry would eventually turn into a bookmark. That became the Post-It® Note.

By 1980, the Post-It® Note was available all over the world. Today, the 3M company markets some 200 products that contain Silver’s accidental invention: the adhesive that has made the company a sizable fortune.

PopsicleThe Popsicle
Back in 1905, an eleven-year-old boy named Frank Epperson accidentally discovered the Popsicle. One night, he left his drink “ a combination of soda-water powder and water “ on his porch. The stirring stick was still in the glass. The next day, young Epperson discovered the frozen concoction.

In 1923, Epperson started producing what he called œEpsicles. They were available in seven fruit flavors. At some point, the product name changed to œPopsicles. Epperson sold the rights to his creation: Good Humor, which produces many popular frozen treats, owns the Popsicle.

Potato ChipsPotato Chips
Sometimes a sarcastic action can lead to one of the world’s greatest inventions. Such was the case in 1853, when a chef named George Crum was working in New York. One of his customers sent back an order of French fries, claiming that they were too thick. Crum tried again: the customer wasn’t satisfied with this second batch of thinner fries. Apparently annoyed by this, Crum sliced the next batch of potatoes as thinly as he could and then deep-fried them as he would do with regular French fries.

This sarcastic offering did not go over well “ or so it seemed at the time. The customer adored the chips: other people in the restaurant started asking for them too. Eventually Crum opened his own restaurant, where patrons could get a basket of potato chips at every table.

We can thank a lack of laboratory sanitation for penicillin, one of the world’s greatest antibiotics. Back in 1928, Alexander Fleming was working on flu research when he noticed something blue and green growing in one of his Petri dishes. This something was not supposed to be there. Further investigation revealed that this mold “ soon to be known as penicillin “ had killed the other bacteria in the dish.

That’s not quite the end of this story, though. In its natural state, penicillin isn’t very stable. You can’t just leave a cold pizza out for a few weeks and then scrape off a bacteria-killing miracle. But fortunately for us, it was only a few years later when researchers at Oxford figured out how to make a stable form of penicillin: one that actually works.

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug named Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. This was not what Viagra’s inventors originally had in mind for this little blue pill.

Back in the 1980s, researchers were trying to develop a drug to treat hypertension. Viagra did not do the job, so the researchers switched gears. They tried using Viagra to treat angina. This didn’t work either.

But the clinical trials revealed a very interesting side effect: erections. Further research and testing revealed that Viagra was responsible for this reaction. From that point on, the researchers tested Viagra as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

These are just a few of the greatest accidental discoveries that people have made in modern history. These things “ products that many of us use on a regular basis “ have changed our world for the better. They are a testament to creativity, open-mindedness, and the willingness to make the best of failure.