Serendipity tales

Some thoughts about a magic word I came across several times past summer and put me in a passionate research

    During my past holidays I decided to finish some pending innovation readings and at some point in time realized that all of them where using a common word…..  Serendipity.

   I already was aware of it’s meaning like The power of unexpected collaboration/happenings, but for some reason, decided to research a bit more what was behind it and here you have some interesting findings:

  • It was first coined in 18th century by Horace Walpole inspired from the arabian tale “The three princesses of Serendip”.
  • In many linguistic statistical resources it’s considered one of the most popular words and one of most difficult to translate at the same time.
  • Serendipity is not a matter of being lucky… it’s a matter of being curious.
  • The opposite to Serendipity is zemblanity.

Serendipity and Innovation

   With the rise of open innovation culture, Serendipity has been taken as one of the most inspiring words to lead innovation conversations. We can find lots of Serendipity examples in recent and old innovation times and in all cases they finally lead to the conclusion that being open and flexible is the best way to reach pleasant results.

  • Protect & Gamble Open Innovation platform

        It was setup by P&G at XXI century beggining when their financial results started to fall…  After few years, external contributions are participating in 50% of corporate products and initiatives. One of the best examples of promoted Serendipity.

  • Post-it and Super-glue

        Those sticky products are always taken as examples of serendipity because of their randomness and later global influence.

  • Internet / Social Networks

          HTTP technology originally used for basic communicaton and documentary purposes suddenly took an unexpected turn. A world-wide community started to build stacked communication platforms and features above it and now has become the most important way to connect people and ideas. Not sure if someone has tried to measure Internet “Serendipity factor” contribution but it’s ability to keep a never ending 24/7 loop of “likes”, “+1″, “follows”, “share” is definitely changing our society.

Do you have any interesting Serendipity history to share ??? Do not hesitate to leave it in comments section below.