2023 Speaker Series

Serendipity

Serendipity is defined as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”

This year, with the help of our speakers, we will be exploring serendipity through 3 lenses: as phenomena, as product attribute, and as develop-able skill.

As perceptual beings seeking our place, cognitively, physically, and spiritually, in the world, we are in constant pursuit of insight into a super structure of order. At times, this takes the form of experiential interpretations of random commonplace events yielding culturally resonant descriptors such as karma, synchronicity, and serendipity.

These interpretations can offer us a sense of intrigue, natural justice, and security via our colored observations of things “working themselves out” in a way that aligns with and reinforces our emotional orientation in our environment. Though nomenclature has changed over time, evolving from the concept of “fortune” in the old world to “luck” in the new world, the human needs addressed by such concepts have remained the same. Indeed, we would be emotionally, cognitively, and culturally impoverished without our uniquely human ability to string events together in pursuit of higher meaning and reflection upon our interaction with an otherwise chaotic world.

Regarding experience research, design, and strategy, we may operationalize our thinking around higher meaning through the lens of serendipity. Understood as phenomena, the concept of serendipity offers us a holistic, perhaps synesthetic, feeling we may use to enrich the enjoyment we derive from our own work. Expanding upon Conway’s Law, we may also posit that by allowing ourselves, as creators of experience, to be beneficiaries of serendipitous perceptions, we increase our ability to imbue our digital, physical, and procedural products with elements that inspire the same perceptions by our users. Finally, if serendipity is perceptually based and able to permeate the research, design, and production process, it stands to reason that we, as experience professionals, may explore ways by which we might address the phenomena as a honeable skill with which we can enrich the experiences we bring forth into the world.

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