You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Sometimes our best ideas are born from the substance of our biggest blunders.
Well, here are some noteworthy ideas that started as something, let’s just say, less impressive.
1. Cornflakes: The Kellog Brothers, John, and Will were just trying to boil a pot of grain. They inadvertently left the pot on the stove too long, and the grain dried up and became hard and moldy. The brothers worked on eliminating the mold and wound up creating one of the most popular breakfast cereal brands of all time.
2. The Microwave Oven: Percy Spencer was an engineer at Raytheon Corporation. He was doing research related to radars using a new vacuum tube. Spencer noticed that the candy bar in his pocket began to melt during one of his experiments. He then put popcorn into the machine. When it started to pop, he knew he had stumbled onto something significant.
3. Kermit the Frog: In 1955, Betty Henson had an old green coat she no longer wanted and threw it out. Her son Jim took the coat and made it into a puppet, slicing a ping-pong ball in half to make the eyes. Thus was the beginning of Kermit the Frog, the beloved Sesame Street character.
4. Post-it Notes: A researcher at 3M, Spencer Silver, was working to create a strong adhesive. In the process, one of his efforts he noticed didn’t have very much “sticking power” but didn’t leave any marks or residue either. Years later, a colleague spread the substance on little pieces of paper to mark his place in his choir hymn book, and the idea was born.
5. Penicillin: Scottish physician Alexander Fleming was seeking to create a drug that would cure diseases. He wasn’t having much luck. However, Fleming noticed that a contaminated Petri dish he discarded contained a mold dissolving the bacteria around it. He grew the mold by itself and discovered Penicillin.
Maybe you don’t have the world’s next brilliant novel or notable scientific discovery sitting in your desk drawer or your waste can – but then, perhaps you do – the moral of the story here is to keep your eyes open. Look for undiscovered opportunities and blessings that may be sitting right under your nose. Don’t give up. Maybe the solution or breakthrough you’ve been looking for is just around the corner!