The Science of Serendipity in the Workplace
Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beautiful way. Today companies believe serendipity is one of the keys to being a successful business and a happy workplace. Big companies now are not doing as was done before, where the approach to encourage interaction and innovation between colleagues was to set up a ‘staff room,’an informal setting where employees discuss new ideas and solutions to problems. Today companies are doing research into how to connect employees with one another, and not just that but engage with the right people. Some firms are taking quite scientific approach to this by collecting and analysing the probability that the employees will bump into each other. Others are hiring architects to analyse the speed at which people walk and angles to calculate how often employees are likely to meet. For example the new Google Inc. headquarters is to be designed in such a way that it is impossible for people not to be in close contact. They are going to achieve this by narrowing the floor space and they believe by doing this they will increase collaborations by up to 20%. Another prime example is the Zappos’s headquarters in downtown Las Vegas. There are 1,500 employees working in a 200,000 square foot building, inevitably increasing collaborations between staff. They took quite a strong approach by limiting access to the building, forcing staff to walk an extra walk to work. They even went as far as installing digital games in their lifts to force people to engage with one another. Steve Jobs was quite ahead of his time when he set up the Pixar headquarters by designing central bathrooms, thereby again forcing people together. This shows that simple, costless ideas work just as effectively as expensive ideas. Ideas such as “The Serendipity Days” where people volunteer to come together and discuss ideas with others they wouldn’t necessarily interact with. It all goes...
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