Thursday, 12 July 2012

A chance encounter in the space of ideas

In 1854, Louis Pasteur was quoted as saying "in the field of observation, chance only favours the prepared mind"


Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Mel Woods of SerenA, the multi-disciplinary project that aims to 'deliver novel technologies, methods and evaluation techniques for supporting serendipitous interactions'. SerenA's scope is primarily how serendipity can be engineered in the service of research. Mel and her colleagues worked on the hypothesis that serendipity can be optimised and have developed a model to do so. Whilst engineered serendipity appears to be an oxymoron, the model seems effective and SerenA have held several workshops to develop this idea further. 


We had a wide-ranging discussion about the role that serendipity plays in the making of connections and innovation in large organisations, for example locating expertise and problem-solving. In November we hope to take this forward with a full-day event with SerenA where KIN members can get involved in serendipity in digital and physical spaces.


SerenA has collected many stories about serendipitous encounters and presented these as beautiful graphical and audio stories. The example below is one of several available on the brilliantly named SerendipiTV 












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