The technological progress of the human species is amazing. Throughout history, the world’s most brilliant minds have continuously pushed the boundaries of science to develop new and exciting innovations.

Most innovations are painstakingly created through vigorous testing and experimenting, some are predicted by pop culture, and others are simply accidents.

Important innovations such as the pacemaker, x-rays, and even matches were the result of total happenstance. We have the sheer randomness of the universe to thank for these, and other, critical inventions.

We’ve put together a visual that details 12 of the most famous accidental innovations and the unusual stories that led to their discovery.

Accidental Innovations Infographic

Accidents happen, and apparently, sometimes they lead to groundbreaking innovations.

Who would have thought something as deeply ingrained in our daily lives as a microwave exists by pure chance? Or that a life-saving device like the pacemaker was created by mistake?

The story of the creation of Scotchgard, in particular, demonstrates how potential innovations could be right around the corner and all we need to unlock them is a different perspective. Had Patsy Sherman’s assistant not spilled the Scotchgard mixture on their shoe, Sherman would not have discovered the dirt-repellent properties of Scotchgard.

Considering how whacky some of these stories are, many of these innovations might not have come to fruition had one or two things gone slightly differently. Thankfully, the creators of these handy inventions were able to turn mishaps into important innovations.

And these happy accidents aren’t limited to the innovations listed above. In fact, a number of our favorite food items were created by accident:

  • Corn Flakes
  • Potato chips
  • Coca-Cola
  • Popsicles
  • Ice cream cones

Even children’s toys like the Slinky and Play-Doh were developed by accident. If nothing else, this teaches us that it’s okay to fail and we should embrace making mistakes.

Who knows, our next frustrating gaffe could actually turn into the next big innovation of our time!