Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug - Cancer - MSNBC.com: "Her carefully cultured cells were dead and Katherine Schaefer was annoyed, but just a few minutes later, the researcher realized she had stumbled onto a potential new cancer treatment."
There is an old quote that truly quantifies this situation, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny ..."
Some of the greatest discoveries come not from finding what we were looking for but from investigating what we didn't expect.
Teflon was a mistake but he looked into it to see what had heppened. But in anycase it took a French fisherman to put it on cookware.
I've played any number of games in my life and the ones that I learned the most from were the ones I lost but analyzed afterward. Don't dismiss the value of "failure."