This was a labour of love. And the love story began many months ago. When young Ricardo Sousa – organizer of the Switch Conference – invited me to speak there, I almost instantly knew that serendipity would be the topic.
Why? Because it’s a concept that brought so many opportunities, challenges and great people into my life that I wanted to celebrate it. Because I thought that maybe the audience wasn’t familiar with it, so it would be a good change to share something truly different. And because I’ve lately come to realize the importance of the concept for business.
I shared the topic with no one and lived these last weeks stumbling upon interesting content on serendipity, and serendipitously watching serendipity in action, without saying a word. Not easy I assure you!! But, you see, I really wanted it to be a surprise to the audience (a risky strategy because from the teaser title of my talk everyone expected that I would be talking about s… failure :) ).
Spotting "golden content" on this amazing thing we call the Web & can't talk about it not to spoil a surprise. Curiosity kills the cat —
Ana Silva (@AnaDataGirl) April 09, 2011
I invested my time, heart and soul into the preparation of the slides. In my mind the design had to be swirly, portraying the twists and turns of events, with brushes of shades of pink emerging from the greys and blacks (isn’t that how serendipity feels like when it happens to you?). The only problem was that I’m not used to work with vectors and design software, but managed to do it using a trial-and-error method
Then came the last minute details: the initial version of the presentation was too big, I was feeling pretty tired and had little time to rehearse, and wondered if the strategy of hiding the theme was a good one. Doubts and some nervousness arose in the last days. Would the audience like the topic? Would they identify with what I was saying? Would it be too far off from the topics addressed by the other speakers?
All doubts and nervousness disappeared miraculously as I set foot on that stage. And there I was: the words coming out right, the audience in attentive silence, the occasional laughter from them and my brain telling me “not going bad girl” as the words in this foreign language that I’m writing kept coming out of my mouth.
And the best came later. And it came in such a way that I am still overwhelmed: yes they liked it and yes they identified with it! And they even tweeted “Serendipity has a place in business” What more could I want?
So in case you want to see it again, here are the slides:
And I also take this opportunity to share with you some interesting links, used as inspiration for preparing this talk:
» Serendipity on Twitter by Chris Brogan on Web 2.0 here
» Design for serendipity (on the web) here
» Serendipity and tacit knowledge by Ana Neves (Portuguese) including video by John Hagel (English) here
» Serendipity and knowledge sharing by Luis Suarez here
» Designing for serendipity in the community here
» Serendipity and IDEO’s intranet here
» Serendipity and events/informal gatherings here
» Serendipity and knowledge workers here
» “Elevate randomness into an art form” here
» The origins of the word serendipity here
Once again thank you ALL for the wonderful feedback on my talk and congratulations to Ricardo and his amazing team for such a great event!
And remember, no matter what you do, EMBRACE CHANGE, EMBRACE SERENDIPITY!
(update 19th April: I invite you all to check this great blog post by @inospito)