Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy and beneficial way. Some of the greatest discoveries were unexpected. Serendipity makes you to think beyond expectations. Not everything is a work execution. Many of the house hold products to life changing innovations were unintended but advantageous outcomes. It is not merely stumbling on things but it is the ability to see significance to see and find value in it. Who doesn't know the discovery of gravity? It was indeed an incident of serendipity.
Like every story, a drug development success story isn't one where 2 + 2 = 4. The common ingredients in successful drug development are a confluence of timing, knowledge, experience, hard work, access to capital and sheer luck. Pacemakers were not made because there was increase in the number of people suffering from heart diseases but it was made by the mis-assembly of a device. Wilson greatbatch was an American engineer and a lifelong inventor, was attempting to make a device that could record heartbeats but ending making a device which was sending out heartbeat like pulse. He realized it could be used as a pacemaker but smaller in size than the other models available. Antabuse also known as disulfuram, medication was approved by USFDA in 1951 for the treatment of alcoholism. It was discovered by accident in 1947 at The Royal Danish school of Pharmacy in Denmark by two researchers Eric Jacobsen and Jens Hald who were studying the compound for the possible use of parasitic infections in the stomach. They decided to take a small dose of disulfuram for the possible side effects. After several days they went to a cocktail party, Jacobsen and Hald became very sick after taking a few drinks. Each man experienced the same symptoms and concluded that the disulfuram, triggered by alcohol was responsible for the illness. They conducted a study and confirmed their findings.
Luck does not play a part in every discovery but that does not necessarily mean it doesn't have a part in it. It is about being curious and having a keen eye to see the different possibilities around you.
“One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.” – Sir Alexander Fleming