There is an under-appreciated ally in a world where certainty is a luxury and the unexpected becomes the norm – serendipity. Often misconceived as mere luck, serendipity in business is the art of turning chance encounters into opportunities.
Go out of your way to discover new things, connect the dots to generate opportunities, and, last but not least, take your chance.
When reflecting about the past year, I was astonished about the broad range of activities which had filled my year as freelancer: managing the sale of a mobile phone business, teaching math at a secondary school, giving lectures in front of Costa Rican auditors, and working as CFO at a SaaS-company!
This was quite an unforeseen path at the beginning of the year, especially in view of my former career as a marketer in retail banking.
Embracing the unpredictable
When taking a closer look though, my journey in the past year was not a series of random events, but rather a combination of randomness, “Eureka” moments, combined with deliberate steps which lead to the next step. Or let’s call it serendipity at work.
Though, serendipity is more than a happy coincidence: it is the convergence of chance and insight. It’s a process where fortunate discoveries, made seemingly by accident, are recognized and capitalized upon by a prepared mind. In the business realm, serendipity requires an environment conducive to chance, complemented by a mindset ready to take deliberate steps towards opportunity.
What are the prerequisites to make serendipity your ally?
Go-out-of-your-way encourages individuals and businesses to venture beyond their comfort zones. It’s about exploring uncharted territories, both literally and figuratively.
In the context of professional growth and business innovation, this means seeking new environments, mingling with diverse groups, and being open to experiences beyond the familiar. This approach can lead to fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and unexpected opportunities that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise.
Connect-the-dots is a crucial skill in today’s interconnected world. This principle involves being open-minded and proactive in linking ideas, concepts, and people from different spheres. In business, this might mean connecting a new technology from one industry to a completely different application in another, or introducing people from diverse backgrounds to foster unique collaborations. This principle is particularly relevant in the era of AI, where interdisciplinary approaches can lead to groundbreaking innovations.
Finally, take-your-chance emphasizes the importance of action. Opportunities may present themselves randomly, but they require decisiveness and courage to be seized. In the context of business and innovation, this means not hesitating when a potential breakthrough or collaboration arises. It’s about embracing risk, being agile, and making the most of the moment.
Personal reflections and broader implications
Reflecting on my personal journey, it becomes clear that serendipity is a powerful force in shaping professional trajectories. However, it’s not about leaving things to chance; it’s about fostering an environment where serendipity can flourish and being prepared to act when opportunities arise.
This approach is not only relevant to individuals but is also crucial for businesses aiming to innovate and succeed in uncertain times.
To make serendipity your ally in 2024, do not forget to …
Be curious, talk to strangers, visit new countries and walk different paths to work.
Look out for new crowds and networks: mingle with geeks instead of other business folks.
Take (at least) one bold decision this 2024.