Soul Stirrers #6: Seredy
The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Seredy is a platform that creates chance encounters between people who might never otherwise cross paths within an organization. The project was initially developed in 2016 by Simon Engelke as a way to spark serendipitous connections between members of the Global Shapers community.
In utilizing Seredy’s random pairing process, for example, one possible connection can be established between a CEO and an intern of the same company — imagine that! But why not introduce an intern to a CEO and vice versa? Why must their differences in power, level of experience, and scope of work prevent them from meeting one another? What if, in creating space for a conversation between people with disparate perspectives, new insights and opportunities for self improvement can emerge, which in turn benefits the company?
This art of chance-opportunism — as Maria Popova of Brain Pickings calls it — is a method of discovery that often gets overlooked because it’s not quantifiable. Serendipity can’t be designed or planned because it just happens. Yet some of the most important discoveries known to mankind were made this way, simply by accident, and seemingly without intent. Sir Alexander Fleming famously returned to his lab from vacation and noticed some mold (AKA penicillium) on a culture plate that stopped the growth of staphylococci:
“One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. When I woke up just after dawn on Sept. 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess that was exactly what I did.”
Of course, turning chance into opportunity also requires someone to be on the lookout for unexpected outcomes in the first place. In the hands of anyone other than Sir Fleming, the mold may well have been disregarded as something unworthy of further investigation; one must have an open, inquisitive mind to court a happy fluke. Knowing this, let’s hope for many more platforms that share in Seredy’s philosophy — encouraging close encounters of the unlikely kind — so that we can bask in the joy of randomness and solve some major issues along the way, fortuitously.