Get Lucky

Get Lucky

How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business

Jossey-Bass, 2012 more...

Editorial Rating




In 1945, engineer Percy Spencer was working with magnetrons, electronic devices that create microwave radio signals. As he stood next to a functioning magnetron, Spencer felt the chocolate bar in his pocket suddenly soften to a gooey consistency. He deduced that the microwaves emanating from the magnetron had melted his candy. This serendipitous insight led to the invention of the microwave oven. Entrepreneur Thor Muller and Lane Becker, both web experts and customer satisfaction consultants, explain why serendipity matters to your business and how you can spark happenstance in your organization. Their pleasant tone of voice and easy way with complex concepts make for a delightful read. Although waiting for serendipity to pass through your organization may prove as fruitless as anticipating a visit from Godot, you can foster a work environment that supports good fortune, allowing you to grasp hold of it – if it occurs. getAbstract recommends this original treatise to readers who want to turbocharge their organization’s serendipity and reap the benefits of good fortune.


Post-It Notes

Many major scientific, technical and product developments resulted directly from serendipity – the “intersection of chance and creativity” – including, for example, Post-it notes. In 1968, Dr. Spence Silver, a research chemist at Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company, now 3M, was trying to develop adhesives for aircraft manufacture. He inadvertently created an oddball “high tack” but “low peel” adhesive that users could easily remove after they stuck it in one place and re-stick it somewhere else.

Although these properties have no use in aircraft manufacture, Silver was nevertheless proud of his unusual development. However, his colleagues were totally uninterested in his new “magical adhesive,” which was not directly applicable to their research charter. After some urging, Silver convinced Dr. Geoff Nicholson, the lab manager for new products, to fabricate a “permanent sticky bulletin board” prototype, where people could easily attach and detach papers, but the idea flopped. Silver was the only person at 3M excited about his discovery. He gave seminars about it within the company, hoping that some product developer would come up with a use for...

About the Authors

Thor Muller and Lane Becker co-founded Get Satisfaction, a customer engagement platform. Muller is a serial entrepreneur. Becker co-founded Adaptive Path, a user-experience design firm.

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