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The Science of Serendipity in the Workplace - WSJ.com

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Companies aren't leaving serendipity to chance.

Firms are thinking up new ways to encourage interactions among employees who normally don't work with each other. The hope is that these casual face-to-face chats among people with different skills might spark new ideas, lead to new solutions or at the least, increase workplace camaraderie.

To make those connections happen, some firms are taking a scientific approach—collecting and analyzing data about their teams and mathematically computing the likelihood that employees will meet. In some instances, they are squeezing workers into smaller spaces so they are more likely to bump into each other. In others, they are installing playful prompts, like trivia games, to get workers talking in traditional conversational dead zones, such as elevators.