Means for Serendipitous Discovery in the Innovation Process. How organizations can harness serendipity through idea management system
“While serendipity is generally considered a spark for innovation and new knowledge, the triggers for serendipity appear infinite and consequently information systems' support for serendipity has been difficult to realize.” (Mccay-Peet, 2013) UK Research Council funds a project of 1,87 million Pounds aimed at understanding the role that serendipity plays in research and innovation in the digital economy. The question is not why, but rather why not earlier? Serendipity is a slippery concept, but it is widely acknowledged that it plays its part in the advancements in science and technology. Famous examples of scientists innovators accidentally stumbled upon new ideas that have triggered progress is plain to see: penicillin, vulcanized rubber, safety glass microwaves, Ink-jet printers, post-it notes, Teflon, Viagra, and so on. (Roberts ,1989) In today’s tumultuous business environment, innovation is more than a prerequisite to survive as an organization. But it is more likely today that innovation will result from a serendipitous discovery rather than a formal planning process. (Loosemore,2013), (O'Connor & Price, 2001) (Kingdon, 2013) To try to manage serendipity is rather an oxymoron, but research showed that it is feasible. To manage serendipity means to create an environment where all the precipitating conditions of serendipity unfold. It seems that serendipity occurs during social networking, active learning and in the act of exploratory search. This thesis proposes a new perspective on Idea Management System, as a mechanism that systematically facilitates serendipity.