Thought Leaders Cultivate Serendipity

Pagan Kennedy and How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity

Today is Monday, so let’s start off the week with an interesting quote and article that caught my attention in the New York Times today. Pagan Kennedy writes about How To Cultivate the Art of Serendipity and shares an interesting 2005 study about how US Patents came about. Did YOU know that 50% of US patents resulted from what could be described as a serendipitous process? I sure didn’t.

Why is this study and this article important to budding or respected thought leaders?

1) Thought leaders must piece together disparate pieces to make new possibilities

Essentially, all thought leaders start as change makers and change agents. You will often bring ideas from one world into another and try to make them work in new settings. To do that, you must “be capable of seeing ‘patterns that others don’t see.'” You must be willing to “gather string” – as Kennedy describes that essential process at the beginning of a journalist’s journey to finding a great story.  You must get out of your silo and cross disciplines and nurture your ability to be a “super-encounterer” who finds happy serendipity moments wherever you look.

2) Thought leaders nurture their inner lion

To be successful as a change agent and thought leader, you have to be willing to “look for something that you can’t yet name” and keep going when it is unclear what the outcome might be. This requires nurturing your confidence that you will find the way forward and toughening your exterior so you don’t get derailed by the first person who says “don’t” or “no” or “that’s not the way we do things around here.” Nurturing your inner lion can require finding and partnering with others who believe in you, celebrating each small success and remembering that serendipity is around every corner.

How will you nurture your inner lion-

3) Thought leaders must codify their lessons learned

The essential difference between leaders and thought leaders is that thought leaders document their best practices through books, manuals, patents, blueprints or methodologies. If you are going to show the way forward and make it easier for others to learn what you’ve learned and know what you know, you have to write down and codify what you’ve built/created/learned/discovered in a way that others can follow in your footsteps and build on what has already been developed.

For other great ideas on how to change the world, I’m excited to read Pagan Kennedy’s upcoming new book, Inventology: How We Dream Up Things that Change the World.

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