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How to make serendipity happen in the workplace

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/how-to-make-serendipity-happen-at-work/

weforum.org

How to make serendipity happen in the workplace
By adopting a culture of openness backed by technological innovation, businesses are finding they can make their own luck

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Serendipity and being open to the unexpected

Serendipity and being open to the unexpected

Serendipity is making unexpected discoveries. It is not entirely controllable nor predictable. It means seeing solutions where others find none.

In a rapidly changing world, we don't know which problems to solve or which resources to develop. To meet this challenge, we must learn to accept the limitations of planning and welcome the potential of the unexpected.

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Develop the conditions for serendipity

Several companies design flexible structures and processes to cope with the unexpected. Uncertainty presents not only a challenge but also a potential opportunity.

  • The company, Haier, developed a 'platform ecosystem' where employees can present their ideas to an investment committee.
  • They also developed a digital ecosystem around users where the user is the core.
  • A culture of innovation is encouraged by rewarding autonomous decision-making and encouraging employee teams to find external partners to develop ideas.
  • Other companies focus on coffee trials, where you are randomly paired up with other employees over lunch.

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The science of (smart) luck

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People find comfort in certainty. We form organisations; we structure our activities and strategies around the idea of certainty; we find satisfaction knowing that planning will br...

Serendipity has three characteristics

  • Trigger - the moment when something unusual or unexpected happens.
  • Connect the dots - observe the trigger and link it to something seemingly unrelated, thus realising the potential valued within a unique event.
  • Sagacity and tenacity - the ability to follows through and create an unexpected positive outcome.

Developing a serendipity mindset

Many of the world's leading minds have developed a capacity to use the unexpected in a positive way.

You can develop a serendipity mindset in yourself. Serendipity is not a passive luck that just happens to you. It is an active process of seeing and connecting the dots. It is about seeing bridges where others see gaps, then taking the initiative to create smart luck.

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Luck is a perceptual bias

Luck is a perceptual bias

In other people, we focus on the successful result, not the struggle and growth experiences they endured to reach it, while in ourselves, all we’re aware of is the struggle...

We control our luck

... to a certain extent. We may not directly affect major opportunities of our life at any given moment (like finding oil on our property), but we can indirectly influence how many opportunities spring up and the ferocity with which we pursue them.

Become a lucky person

  • Be a social butterfly: Lucky people enjoy relating to other people.
  • Periodically do something stupid: Luck is more likely to fall on those who take a dumb risk or two.
  • Maximize your positive luck and minimize the negative one.
  • Be optimistic: Our performance usually rises to the level of our expectations.

Be social

Put yourself out there and meet more people, because people bring connections and connections bring opportunity.

Also, keep in touch with your established relationships.

Visualize

If you have a goal in mind, imagine the stepping stones to your success. Seeing each detail in the path to success is key.

Help others

Lucky people give freely of their time and resources.

Giving reminds us of how lucky we already are.