Serendipity

Nora Guerrera
4 min readFeb 13, 2024

Chance, Openess and Pursuit

Highlights:

  • What is serendipity?
  • Why serendipity matters
  • Increase your chances of serendipitous occurrences

What is Serendipity?

How often does a chance conversation change your mind about a key decision? Or a newsletter arrive in your inbox that shifts your point of view? What about unexpected input that influences you, dramatically changing your trajectory- and without which you’d have gone in an entirely different direction?

These occurrences happen more often than we realize- and they’re called serendipity. Serendipity is “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable insights, ideas, or things not sought for.” (ref: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Serendipity is a wonderful thing. It can enable life-changing, game-changing, historically significant new ideas, new insights, and new connections — if one connects the dots, unlocks the new ideas, and pursues the opportunities serendipity has created for them.

Why Serendipity Matters

We once lived in a world that was more centralized. You had a limited number of individuals who were responsible for creating new things and making key decisions. Everything trickled down from them for broader implementation, operationalization, and efficiency.

In today’s world, we cannot know exactly what will be needed and wanted tomorrow. We can’t plan years or months in advance, and the future is not determined by others. Instead, we’re networked and empowered and must become savvy at managing the unexpected. We have to stay prepared for the future through constant seeking, learning, discovering, and connecting.

In doing so, you can benefit from serendipity when it strikes. What do unexpected encounters make you think of? What new connections do you make when something crosses your path? What new ideas come up? What do you do with them? Who do you share them with- and what do others do with them?

Chance or Planned?

How much of serendipity is luck? Is it chance, or can you create it? Serendipity is an outcome of many entities (people, places, things, and ideas) that are all moving, thinking, and acting independently. Just like atoms in a science experiment, these entities have the opportunity to collide and either combine or react with one another to create something new. We cannot control the activity of each entity, but we can prepare for and seek the unexpected.

Preparing for unexpected encounters, or being open to serendipity, impacts our likelihood of seeing collisions or making connections- ‘uncovering valuable insights, ideas, or things not sought for’- and knowing what to do with them when they occur. Author and London School of Economics professor Christian Busch writes that if you’re open to what information, ideas, and interactions might come your way, you’re more likely to see what others don’t, turning unexpected observations into opportunities or insights.

Increase your Likelihood of Serendipity:

  • Be open-minded
  • Seek diversity — in individuals, in groups, and in actions and activities
  • Be intentional — consider what was new about your experience and what else you might have heard or learned that you weren’t expecting. Ask new or unique questions that open yourself up to new answers (ex., ‘What are you thinking about today?’ vs. ‘What do you do?’)
  • Allow for space and time — it’s easy to push from one thing to the next. Instead, give yourself space and time to reflect and create connections.

Northome Group is committed to creating spaces and places for serendipity to occur. We do it in three ways:

  • Newsletters and thought leadership spur new ideas and new ways of thinking and connect things you may already be working on and thinking about. Thanks for being a part of this community! If you’d like to refer friends, you’ll add to the new ideas and new conversations that keep our new ideas flowing.
  • Meet-ups. Opportunities to connect in person and virtually around design, strategy, design thinking, and innovation topics. Meet-ups are for people who are curious, engaged, and interested in broadening their exposure. (Learn More about Monthly Meet-ups)
  • Summit Events. One-day virtual events in which diverse individuals with diverse ideas come together, allowing insights and ideas to spread, grow, and springboard into something new and unexpected. (Learn More about our Upcoming Summit Events)

Please join us for any and all of those as we work to spread new ideas and create serendipity.

Have a great week —

NG

Additional References:

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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.