Friday, October 19, 2007

Innovation-What's Luck got to do with it?

From Erica Driver at Forrester Research - a fine article on how serendipity(LUCK) may be more important than all the other keys to innovation.

Forrester Information and Knowledge Management: Serendipity: A Critical Innovation Success Factor

Here is a clip from Erica's article:

"As part of the run-up to the Business Innovation Factory summit (BIF-3) currently going on in Providence, Rhode Island, attendees participated in an online social network.On the social networking site, the most common one-word answers to the question “What are 5 keys to innovation?” were rolled up into a tag cloud (see figure). Words that rose to the top of the list included creativity, collaboration, and passion.

But as I sit in the back of the theater listening to the storytellers (they each get 15 minutes of stage time to share experiences they’ve had with innovation or to participate in a short interview) I realize we missed something big: serendipity — fed by sheer dumb luck. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, serendipity is the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought after. And luck is a force that brings good fortune or adversity, or the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual."
While I liked Erica's article, I take issue with her characterization of serendipity as "fed by sheer dumb luck". Louis Pasteur is quoted as saying in a lecture in 1854 "Chance favors only the prepared mind". From my own experiences in founding and managing innovative startups, having a prepared mind enabled me to recognize my luck when it knocked on my door.

Erica's article also features a link to Icosystems founder and Chief Scientist Eric Bonabeau whose company applies complex adapative systems technology to help clients prepare their minds - and create their own luck. Might be worth checking Icosytems out to improve your luck. Icosystem Company Overview

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