Ana, I was happy to find your recorded presentation and watched it with great curiosity. It is not often when I have seen such a professional and understandable approach to the topic. Even the title is perfect…. thanks! I want to share it here and comment some of the issues raised.
Ana describes nicely the role of serendipitous encounters in her personal life and those evolving business challenges, which followed through these encounters. Her open and inspiring style of explaining this is really some of the best I have so far seen in these serendipity presentations. I love her short description of serendipity “Serendipity is elevating randomness into an art form”. It surely describes the fantastic feeling of being able to experience the power of serendipity.
I want to emphasize that this kind of serendipity is happening all the time to most of us, but after watching Ana’s passionate presentation, it might be easier for all of us to start analyse these encounters. And that might lead to the changes in our daily behaviour – we will start to discover, step by step, how to improve our ability to be more alert and improve our sagacity. That will lead us to leave our “curiosity zone” and seek – and find – new and inspiring frontiers, new innovation landscapes, meet new people - and finally change our destiny.
The other inspiring part of the presentation is when Ana is explaining the various ways how to use the social media – especially Twitter – to cleverly harness serendipity by using hashtags and describing some experiences of those who follow more that 20K Twitter accounts. My experience is that also Facebook can be a valuable platform for serendipitous encounters, especially the great communities around social capital and people on the edge, which have recently have inspired me – and of course the great JELLYWEEK 2013 event, which again was enabling a breeding environment for global connections and hence supported to harness serendipity on individual and community level.
From the academic point of view Ana’s presentation might have had some more focus on the two fundamental cornerstones of serendipity: unexpectedness and insight. The examples of “serendipity engines” , like internet music providers suggesting you to listen to C if you like A and B, really have nothing to do with serendipity. My understanding is that by using these “engines” you will start to limit your serendipitous potential, your diversity will shrink, but by allowing more diversity enter your daily life by opening new unexpected domains and fields of interest, you can widen your serendipity potential. That kind of mistreat of serendipity happens when people try to find ways to “automate” and “engineer” serendipity on individual level. We should always remember, that serendipity is a very human, personal and delicate matter, the core of serendipity is the quality of the mind which through awareness, sagacity and good fortune allows one frequently to discover valueable things while seeking something else – and the fruitful attitude for us is just to respect it.