Intention, Space and Serendipity

Nora Guerrera
4 min readApr 16, 2024

How to Create New Ideas and New Insights

Design Thinking for All is a publication that explores design thinking and design strategies and makes them relatable and usable to individuals and organizations regardless of industry, experience, or role. It creates a space and a place for individuals to connect with new ideas, create insights, and explore possibilities.

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve made an intentional choice to pursue other points of view, to seek knowledge, to try to expose yourself to new things, and/or to learn, refine, and improve your own practice. This is one part of how new insights and ideas are created; they are sought with an open mind and good intentions.

Once found, new ideas and insights also need space, they need to be able to take root and evolve into more than disparate pieces. They must be planted, grow roots, and be nurtured in order to become more than just a passing thought.

This requires intention. None of these things will happen accidentally.

How does one move with intention? How do you pursue an intentional journey and avoid being a feather blowing in the wind? How do you seek, find, and create new connections that grow into new insights and ideas?

1. Create the space- Create time in your day, schedule, or routine to do something more than what’s right in front of you. Create space in your mind to allow for deep, “slow” thoughts. Push yourself to consider things beyond what’s immediately obvious. (You are not an email or Slack responding machine, you’re a human capable of deeper thoughts and more considered reflection.)

2. Be open to the unexpected- Be mindful that you are in a two-way conversation with the world. Relevant insights and inspiration are everywhere. Be open to seeing them.

3. Expose yourself to new ideas- Seek things unknown. Explore topics and ideas that aren’t directly connected with your day-to-day, pull on threads, and go down rabbit holes in the pursuit of something interesting. Seek people unknown. Get outside of your comfort zone to talk to new people about new things.

4. Cast hooks or “set serendipity bombs”- Create the possibility of serendipity by offering open-ended opportunities for others to engage with. Whether it’s an email to someone you admire, a LinkedIn connection request to someone you’d like to talk to, or an open-ended response to a question, you can cast hooks for others to grab on to and engage with. For example, when someone asks what you do, you can answer with a fact, closing the conversation there, or you can answer by sharing what you do and what you’re interested in. It’s the difference between “I’m a strategist” and “I’m a strategist, and I’m very interested in serendipity and how new ideas are unlocked.” The first is a dead end, while the second casts a hook that others can grab on to and build from.

5. Connect the dots- In order to create new ideas, you need to be able to see links between things that were previously (thought to be) unrelated. This will enable you to realize the potential value of chance meetings, insights, or events. It’s called bisociation- the simultaneous mental association of an idea or object with two fields ordinarily not regarded as related. Consider what you’re thinking about, exposed to, or wondering about, and connect the dots between them.

6. Take Action- If you see an idea or opportunity, go after it! And remember, your reaction to a set of inputs and experiences will be different than someone else’s, don’t cheat the world on great insights or ideas because you never did anything with them.

The steps are simple, and the good news is that you can practice and become great at all six, but you need to do them. Here are some ideas on how to get started:

  • Provide space for transition between what you normally do and serendipity-seeking activities.
  • Give yourself enough time to fully immerse yourself (ex. 2–3 available hours)
  • Choosing the right time to do it — if you work better in the morning, give yourself time in the morning. If you’re better after you’ve checked off a few tasks for the day, plan time for serendipity after that. Don’t try to force it (but don’t keep pushing it off either…).
  • As you pursue new ideas and new insights, you’ll find yourself in many different modes of seeking — for example, are you looking for new ideas or inspiration? Are you processing many different inputs and initial thoughts? Are you feeling generative and creative? Are you trying to narrow or define the concept(s) swirling in your mind? Consider this as you plan what time you need, how much space you need, and what collaborators or inputs might be most helpful.

Thought Starters

  • How do you create space? Space for thinking? Space for wandering? Space for new ideas and new thoughts?
  • What do you do with them when you find them?

Opportunity!

If you want to learn more about serendipity and the art of intentional connections, join us for Friday’s virtual summit!

Independent voices unlock creative collisions. Creative collisions feed new ideas. Join us for the upcoming virtual summit, Independent Voices : Creative Collisions, Creating New Value, this Friday, April 19:

Related Links

This is a newsletter from Northome Group. Northome Group creates conversations and platforms for connection, conversation, and growth around design thinking and design strategies.

Learn more at www.northomegroup.com or contact us at hello@northomegroup.com.

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Nora Guerrera

Strategist, Leader, Coach, Teacher. I help clients explore, create and use digital to bring game-changing experiences to their businesses and their customers.