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« Achieving Swing | Main | Content Bonanza... Just Not Here »

December 08, 2009


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it happens when you are around like minded people. this is just the sort of thing we try to accomplish everyday at

Creating "mini-events", as simple as the 10am coffee break really increase the social "surface area" and promote sharing and cross talk!


A Facebook User

The theme of your post is reminiscent of an old Louis Pasteur quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind"

(Although, if you read "The Black Swan" or "Outliers" you maybe prefer the "It's Smarter to be Lucky than it's Lucky to be Smart" quote.)

Steve Woodruff

A topic I enjoy thinking about, Rachel. Here's my take from a while back on Marketing Profs Daily Fix:

Rachel Happe

Thanks John, Steve, & Facebook user...

I love the Louis Pasteur quote and The Black Swan and Outliers are also excellent books that I've enjoyed... and contribute to my thinking in this regard.

Steve - you post points out one of the issues I try to impart often which is most budgets have no wiggle room and they are set up purely for things that are predictable. It's a huge problem for companies who want to play in this space - if there is no discretionary budget in order to take advantage of an opportunity... it will pass organizations by.

Rachel - great post. I'm particularly fond of number 4, "Be useful to people in your 'zone', they will return the favor in unexpected, serendipitous ways" as I've experienced numerous benefits from this approach.


Mimi Meredith

I think this is one of my favorite posts you've offered, Rachel. It's fun to hear such a technically savvy person relate to something without true form. I may rely too heavily on serendipity...I lead a rich and serendipitous existence...but even I need to be reminded to slow down, to listen and to welcome a diversion on the way to a goal..thanks for the great reminders!

I wrote my six steps toward embracing serendipity in March of 2008. See if any of it resonates with you...


Hi Aaron - thanks for stopping by and commenting. You definitely practice being useful more than most people I know... and I think it's paid off for you in lots of little and big ways. I've learned a lot just by watching.

Mimi - you get where I'm going here. The one thing for organizations is that they actually need to budget for a little bit of the unknown or else they can't take advantage of a great opportunity even if they recognize it. Same principal you talk about in your post about leaving time for it.


Great post, Rachel. Found this through SMC and just had to link back in order to comment.

In my recent job search, I have found that "serendipity" has come to my aid a few times. I could not agree more that each of us has a huge amount of influence on these happy accidents. For me, #1, #3, and #5 are particularly relevant, especially the latter. My next opportunity looks like it will come from a new industry...further reinforcement for my general MO of not planning my path out too specifically. Great opportunities come from less expected places every day!



Terrific post! I came across your post by serendipity while I was thinking about the importance of sand boxes. I think the ideas are related.

For this to happen, you need do need an organizational culture that values serendipity. The first point:
(Include room in your time and budget for cultivating topics, people, and events that will not have a direct correlated return but fall into your general range of business) is hard for many nonprofits because they are under-resourced. Time has to be spent working in deliverables.

But, I'm convinced that time invested in serependipity - as you describe - does pay you back. But, leaders in an organization need to be convinced of this.

Making me think of the ROI of serendipity.

Melinda Lewis

I was going to say something about an organizational culture that believes in serendipity and values it, too...but Beth beat me to it by a few minutes! I think this requires a willingness to think far beyond what's possible today, too, especially related to #1 and #2--if we don't have a vision for where we'd love to be, even if we think that's not at all possible, then we won't be looking for something amazing and unexpected that could help us get there. I like this post very much.

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