Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter (2022)
When you type the word “serendipity” in a word-processor application such as Microsoft Word, the autocorrection engine suggests you choose other words like “luck” or “fate”. This correcting act turns out to be incorrect. However, it points to the reality that serendipity is not a familiar English word and can be misunderstood easily. Serendipity is a very much scientific concept as it has been found useful in numerous scientific discoveries, pharmaceutical innovations, and numerous humankind’s technical and technological advances. Therefore, there have been many books written around the concept. So why do we need this additional book? This is not just another book about serendipity. It has evolved from the Editor’s question lingering for a decade after finishing his widely cited article (coauthored with Prof. Nancy K. Napier of Boise State University, ID, USA) “Serendipity as a strategic advantage?” in T. Wilkinson’s edited volume Strategic Management in the 21st Century, published by Praeger. The Editor and contributing authors have tried to achieve the following in this title. Demystifying the Serendipity Myth The phenomenon of serendipity has always been thought of as a “miracle”. It is the mystery of human innovation and one of the ultimate secrets of our society. But serendipity is not just a lucky coincidence nor any hidden conspiracy. This book explores the science of the information process behind this seemingly miraculous phenomenon. It connects human society with nature, going back to the root of our existence and looking at the flame of survival to discover the harmony in making creativity. Presenting the nuts and bolts of being an adventurer of science The authors present their conceptual investigations into serendipity’s nature and its mechanism by examining interesting real events and stories. The content is thought-provoking, and readers are led to question and explore their own life stories and problems along the journey of reading this book. Catching an elusive high-value target requires great strategies and efforts. But there are no dark secrets here because this is the “way of nature” – how we humans have always strived for innovation without realizing the blueprints behind such processes. Unlike other books on serendipity, this book will show you that a powerful “secret” is closer than you think. Delivering practical uses for different audiences By understanding the conditionality and survival drivers of serendipity, individuals or organizations can make better decisions on creating the right environment to facilitate the encounter and attainment of this valuable phenomenon. For scientists: With clear explanations of the information processes underlying serendipity, flexible theoretical frameworks of mindsponge and the 3D principle of creativity, researchers are provided with the tools they need to dig deeper into their own fields of study and find practical applications, be it psychology, economics, sociology, or anything that involves innovation (which is, in fact, every scientific discipline). For curious casual readers: Everybody needs innovation to make breakthroughs or spice up one’s life. If you think great ideas come to people randomly from an unknown fairy place, this book will convince you otherwise without taking away that awe and wonder. But above all, you will know how to become more creative, scientifically and straightforwardly, with no snake oil and no weird tricks. For ambitious business people: The flame that brought about great successes throughout human history is within you. But you can only use it if you understand it. While others wait for serendipity to come, you will be able to actively hunt for those precious moments. As it has always been: the best hunters triumph, not the passive wanderers. And in this age of information chaos, finding the golden fruits is not easy. Those from information technology know this problem well, and this book is the treasure map that they have been seeking to navigate that stormy ocean looking for jewels. Like a kingfisher tracking its prey through the water, waiting to gracefully strike, with serendipity, a person seizes the prize of creativity amid the chaos of life. ¤ ¤ ¤ Official introduction: The book explores the nature, underlying causes, and the information processing mechanism of serendipity. It proposes that natural or social survival demands drive serendipity, and serendipity is conditional on the environment and the mindset, on both individual and collective levels. From Darwin's evolution theory to Sun Tzu's war tactics, major innovations throughout human history are unified by this key concept. In the rapidly changing world, information is abundant but rather chaotic. The adaptive power of serendipity allows people to notice treasures within this wild sea, but only for those who understand how it works. To increase the probability of encountering and attaining serendipity, one should employ the mindsponge mechanism and the 3D process of creativity, for without these frameworks, serendipity is truly an elusive target. The book also discusses methods to build environments and cultures rich in navigational and useful information to maximize the chance of finding and capitalizing on serendipity. As a skill, serendipity has a resemblance to how kingfishers observe and hunt their prey.