The Subtle Art of Provoking Serendipity

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Gather requisite diversity.

Seek originality in each person, as that amplifies the creative potential of the network. Find the positive deviants. Bring people together with shared values, focus, and high cognitive diversity. Add novelty–people who don’t already know each other–into the system. Find people who are actively seeking serendipity, as that will amplify the serendipitous nature of the network. Such people will have large active networks. Serendipity occurs when you go looking for it. The more connected you are to the more different things, the more serendipity will emerge. Knowing 100 people leads to a different order of serendipity than knowing 10 people. Serendipity occurs when you recognize it – it is present all the time, if you are looking for it.

Nurture a sharing, evolutionary culture.

Set a generative field by modeling the culture as one that values openness, collaboration, social, playfulness, the future, communication, exploration, learning, diversity and creativity. As in improv, the key to nurturing the emergence of the collective flow is to dance with it, play with it, and seek joy with it. Seek coherence not synchronization.

Weave the network together.

Move the culture from: attention -> awareness -> caring -> engagement. Help people gain familiarity and trust in the network. Encourage parallel communication to flow. Once the network gains coherence, a meta neural network begins to emerge, a field of serendipitous possibility.

Issue a provocation.

Set the system into dynamic motion. Ask the right question to stimulate the collective evolutionary potential of the network to unfold. Light the spark, that illuminates the whole to itself.