I have been following a series on various engineering achievements. This week's episode was on the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). The program described the various trials that a group of engineers in Japan went through trying to take the liquid crystals and actually turn them into a display that was usable. Progress wasn't going well. And then one day the newest member of the team came in to work to find something awful: he had left a bottle of the liquid crystal sample open. At the time, this stuff was expensive to produce. Thinking that since he would have to throw the stuff out anyway, he experimented on it with wild abandon. It ended up leading to the breakthrough that created the foundation for the technology that produced the screen that I'm staring at even as I type.
Sometimes having bad things happen allows the freedom to do stuff that you would never have considered otherwise.