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Use Social Serendipity to Boost Innovation

July 15, 2011  

What is serendipity? You could say it is a manifestation of creativity whose inspiration comes from outside. More companies are finding that serendipity is a huge factor in innovation processes, resulting in the birth of "open innovation" programs such as Procter & Gamble's Connect & Develop, and contests where internal problems are crowdsourced to the outside world.

How might you take advantage of this phenomenon? PRESANS wrote a post that both defines and identifies three types of serendipity. Read and learn!

Defining Serendipity. Serendipity is about "making accidental but fortuitous discoveries, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated," PRESANS says. There are two key drivers behind the word: chance ("a set of fortuitous conditions") and the ability to turn chance into innovation.

Serendipity's Faces. Three identifiable forms of serendipity include:

  • Unsought discovery (like that of Velcro)
  • Discovery that was sought, but found in an unexpected way (like vulcanization)
  • Discovery whose use is different than originally planned (like Post-It notes)

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