Serendipity is inherently appealing because its outcomes are inevitably pleasant. But although it is nice to have around, it is almost impossible to channel because those outcomes are usually the result of a lucky accident. However, it can be harnessed if you deliberately prepare your mind

Three Princes of Serendip

Serendipity is a nice word. It contains the promise of exotic adventure, with a dose of mystery thrown in. This great word became part of our vocabulary as far back as 1754 when it was coined by Horace Walpole who was taken by a myth about three princes of Serendip…

Problem-solving can be approached strategically and innovatively. There are three fertile ways of conquering the problem cause. If they don’t work, focusing on the problem effect opens up another vista of opportunities

Whenever we are blocked from doing something we want to do, naturally we turn our attention to the problem that is holding us back. It’s the most logical thing in the world. We don’t want the effect, so we set to work on the cause.

What is not so obvious is how to tackle the problem. Usually we use a ‘shotgun’ approach. Just think of something. Anything. Start…

Both ancient history and modern times abound with examples of striking, innovative ideas that emerge when people’s customary behavior is severely constrained

The emergence of Covid-19 resulted in an almost unprecedented impact on the people of the world. The list of human activities that has been curtailed is a very long one, compelling responses ranging from outright cessation to avoidance to practical compromise. Whatever the impact, change has been enforced on much of how we live, on how we get things done.

A natural human reaction is that this cannot possibly be a good thing. It’s like having one arm…

Albert Einstein is credited with saying: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. It follows logically that if you don’t understand something well, you will struggle to do anything worthwhile with it.

This observation certainly applies to the realm of innovation. It is rarely explained simply. People’s understanding of innovation is usually diffuse and vague which makes intentional innovative behavior difficult. As attractive as being able to innovate might be, it remains an elusive skill for many of us.

But, while the common views of innovation may be indistinct, it does not follow that the…

John Purdie-Smith

Creator of — a large vault of curated ideas that have innovatively solved typical business problems

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