Accidental discovery is a new design, idea, or development from unexpected insight; this can be obtained from within the organization or from an external source. Accidental discovery is often used in product development. It can lead to new and innovative products that were not previously considered. However, it is essential to note that accidental discovery is not always successful, and sometimes the results can be disastrous. For this reason, organizations should carefully consider whether or not they want to pursue this type of research.
One of the most famous examples of accidental discovery is penicillin, which was discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming. Fleming was investigating the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus when he noticed that a mould called Penicillium notatum had killed some of the bacteria. Fleming isolated and identified the active ingredient in the mould, which he named penicillin. While Fleming's discovery was initially ignored, it was later developed into an effective antibiotic by English scientists Howard Florey and Ernst Chain. Today, penicillin is one of the most commonly used antibiotics globally.
Another example is the discovery of microwave ovens. In 1945, American engineer Percy Spencer worked on radar technology when he noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. Spencer realized that microwaves could generate heat, and he began experimenting with using microwaves for cooking food. As a result, the first microwave oven was introduced to the public in 1947, and today they are a common kitchen appliance. Microwave ovens are now used for various cooking tasks, from heating leftovers to cooking entire meals.