GUERRILLA Vs ENGINEERED SERENDIPITY
Showing the fine line between Guerrilla
and Engineered serendipity mindsets.
Serendipity is a rally of independent events which
have come together seemingly by chance to bring a surprisingly good or
wonderful outcome. We should live in the mindset that serendipity is always
with us, here and now. We can plan for serendipity and we can be prepared for
serendipity when it comes our way.
Serendipity is the intentional creation of
opportunities for people to meet and interact in unplanned ways. The goal is to
spark new ideas, launch collaborations, and create innovations.
The idea of engineered serendipity is based on the observation
that chance encounters can be a powerful source of creativity and innovation.
When people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives come
together, they spark new ideas and solutions that would not have been possible
There is evidence to support this claim. For example,
a study by the Harvard Business School found that scientists who attended the
same conference were more likely to learn from each other and collaborate
effectively when they had common interests. However, the study also found that
scientists who were from the same field were less likely to cite each other's
work. This suggests that there is a sweet
spot for engineered serendipity, where people have enough in common to be
able to connect and collaborate and create, but not so much in common that they
There are numerous known ways to engineer
serendipity. Some common methods include:
* Designing spaces that encourage random encounters.
This involves creating open and inviting spaces with plenty of seating, or configuring
furniture that encourages people to interact.
* Organizing events and social activities that bring
people together from different backgrounds and disciplines. Such as conferences,
workshops, or social meetups or public rallies or explicit brain storming
* Using technology to connect people who might not
otherwise meet. This involve using social media, online forums, virtual
meetings, or matchmaking services.
The key to engineered serendipity is to create opportunities for people to connect with
each other in unexpected ways. Social diversity is a catalytic element. When
people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives come
together, they often spark new ideas and create innovations.
Here are past examples of how engineered serendipity
was used to achieve productive outcomes:
* Google's “20%” time policy encourages employees to
spend 20% of their work time on projects that are not directly related to their
job duties. This policy has led to the development of many new products and
services, including Gmail, Google Maps, and AdSense.
Google engineers were encouraged to take
"walkabouts" around the company's campus. This gives them the chance
to meet people they might not otherwise meet and to discuss new ideas.
* The XPrize is a competition that offers large
rewards for solving difficult problems. The XPrize has helped to accelerate the
development of new technologies, such as the SpaceShipOne suborbital spacecraft
and the DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous vehicle race.
* The TED Conference is an annual event that brings
together speakers from diverse fields to share their ideas. TED Conferences have
helped to spread new ideas and innovations around the world. This has led to
many unexpected collaborations and innovations.
* The website “meetup.com” allow people to find and
join groups based on their interests. This has helped to connect people who
might not otherwise have met and to spark new ideas.
Engineered serendipity was well described by the
work of John Hagel et al. from Delloite Touche (2010) - how small moves, smartly
made can set big things in motion.
serendipity is a powerful tool that is used to achieve productive outcomes. By
creating opportunities for people to connect with each other in unexpected
ways, we can spark new ideas, collaborations, and innovations.
Serendipity is a term used to describe the
unexpected and delightful encounters that happen when people at large go around
and about in their open communities. The term "guerrilla" is used to accentuate
the spontaneous, random and no cost nature of these encounters.
The term "guerrilla" refers to the use of unconventional tactics to achieve a
goal. In the context of guerrilla serendipity, these tactics include the use of
social media, crowdsourcing, and other forms of social communication to spread
information and ideas.
Guerrilla Serendipity refers also to the unexpected
discovery of new knowledge or insights that challenge the status quo.
The point is that where and when guerrilla is deployed there is no involvement
Guerrilla Serendipity has the potential to have an impact
on the way we think about knowledge and acquisition of power. By challenging
the traditional social gatekeepers, guerrilla serendipity helps to create a more
open and democratic society.
Guerrilla Serendipity was term was coined by Claudio
Paolucci to describe the use of new technologies that spread alternative and
non-institutionally certified interpretations of reality. It is a form of
"semiological guerrilla warfare" that challenges the traditional
relationship between knowledge and power.
Here are examples of practical benefits of guerrilla
* The use of social media to spread information
about protests and demonstrations.
* The use of crowdsourcing, (OPM) to fund and
produce independent media enterprises. Examples are Medium and Substack.
* The build free social networks to share
information and ideas.
* The use of free or almost free community resources
such as computer labs, public libraries, volunteers, NGOs, public schools, disposed
recyclable materials, public bulletin boards, civic clubs (low cost membership),
Internet cafes, your cellphones, participating talk shows on TV and radio,
writing letters to editors, book reviews, advertising on public service radio
Guerrilla Serendipity is not without its risks. It
can be used to spread misinformation and disinformation. It can also be used to
target individuals or groups with harassment or abuse.
However, the potential benefits of guerrilla
serendipity outweigh the risks. By challenging the traditional relationship
between knowledge and power, guerrilla serendipity helps to create a more open
and democratic society.
Guerrilla serendipity is productive in the social
life as well as in the liberal arts:
* Using free social media to connect with people who
have different interests and perspectives. This can help you discover new
information and ideas that you would not have otherwise found.
* Following hashtags for keywords (#), address (@) and
acronyms on social media to stay up-to-date on trending topics. This tool helps
finding new and interesting content that you might not have otherwise seen.
* Using online tools such as chat-generative AI to produce
random recommendations, helps finding new services, new music, movies, books,
and other content that you might enjoy.
Experimenting with various ways of using digital
technologies in the liberal arts.
musician who uses social media to connect with fans and other musicians, and
who then collaborates with them on new contents.
writer who uses online tools to generate random prompts, and then writes short
stories based on those prompts.
photographer who experiments with different ways of using their camera, and who
then takes unexpected and beautiful photos.
All of the examples above help users to find new and
unexpected ways to interact with the world around us.
Guerrilla Serendipity is a powerful mind set and skills
set for learning, for evoking creativity, and stimulating personal growth. By intentionally
creating opportunities for serendipity, you open yourself up to new experiences
In finality, Guerrilla Serendipity is creative, playful
and low to no cost manifold resources. It can help you to find new friends,
useful information, life experiences, recommendations, and connections that you
would not have otherwise found.
If you are looking for new ways to learn and grow – assume
the mindset of and go experiment with the guerrilla serendipity.
Mandy Lender is on Medium and on Substack.
THE DAY BEFORE SOMETHING
IS TRULY A BREAKTHROUGH, IT'S A CRAZY IDEA.
~ PETER H. DIAMANDIS
Mandy Lender’s books are sold on Amazon, Barnes
& Noble, eBay,