Accidental Discovery

Columbus Day is a day of accidental “discovery”. Accidents are not always a bad thing. Penicillin, the Popsicle and Velcro were all discovered by accident. And let us not forget that according to all-mighty advertising (so it must be true) that my favorite candy bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, was discovered by two teenagers that accidentally mixed their peanut butter and chocolate while trying (unsuccessfully) to do two things at once – walking and listening to their 1.2 beta version iPods.

In business, we should not be surprised by accidental discoveries nor should we try to hamper unintentional use. In fact, we should encourage accidental discoveries of our products by:

  • Encouraging our customers to experience our products from unintended paths.
  • Watching carefully how users use our products to fit their specific needs.
  • Having customers share with other customers about how they use our products.
  • A customer’s experience with your product can be enriched as she encounters it from accidental avenues.

    Happy Monday! (Oxy-moron?)

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    2 Responses

    1. I had a professor that called it a “happy accident.”

      I always wondered why it should be called an “accident,” because to me it was really just a part of the process. It’s how we evolve and develop ideas. We change things and then notice connections. Whether we do exactly what we set out to do from the beginning is beside the point.

    2. Chris,

      Great point- there are few accidents and few discoveries these days. Like you said, they are more connections than anything.

      By the way, I love your blog…I’ll be back for more.

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