The Subtle Art of Provoking Serendipity

Posted on by Brandon Klein

“People gather and things happen.”

And what is the most wonderful thing that can happen when people gather? That would be serendipity.

Serendipity is the emergence of desirable novelty from a chance encounter, the discovery of something wonderful, unknown and unpredictable. It is the act of unexpected cross-pollination, the seed of something new.

Much of lasting value comes into being serendipitously. How many of the most amazing things that have happened to you have happened because of an overheard word, an accidental encounter, a connection made by a friend? Serendipity is the antithesis of control.

As Isaac Asimov said: ‘The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but “That’s funny.”‘

Serendipity is fundamental to how the universe works.

So how do you best generate serendipity? How do you create an ecosystem of innovation, a culture of creativity? How do you nurture the conditions for it to occur?