Accelerated Serendipity

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Guest blogger:  Debra Swersky

Debra is a current member of The Grove.  Her thoughts were originally posted on her website but we loved them so much we asked to share them here.  Check out her website and learn more about her amazing background.

I first heard the term “accelerated serendipity” from Justin Nygren, Co-Founder and Community Extraordinaire at The Grove. Being a fan of Serendipity III in Manhattan and the movie Serendipity (cheesy, I know), I was instantly taken with the expression and started using it. As a “newbie in Dallas” everything feels like “accelerated serendipity” because everything that I’m talking about is new to someone and everyone can think of someone that I don’t know to introduce me to.

To take the etymology route, I found the first mention of “accelerated serendipity” on Mashable in 2008 (in reference to Chris Messina) and then didn’t really see much until Princeton scientists used it to describe a technique that leveraged robotics to combine chemicals that had never before been combined to create pharmaceutical-like compounds faster. (With my New York State Regents Chemistry background, I think I understand that paraphrased sentence.)

I’m all about etymology, but this term seems to have originated in the co-working world to describe something that happens faster than something that would have happened anyway. (I can’t imagine that chemistry uses terms from the co-working world often…) Since hearing the term I’ve found myself involved in several moments of “accelerated serendipity” and dug into the articles I found about it to understand the concept further. How is it that I can be the recipient of repeated accelerated serendipity?

Now I’m questioning if what I’m experiencing is actually “serendipity” or if it’s accelerated good fortune because I’m “new to town.”

After some reflection about my “I’m in the right place, at the right time, partaking in the right conversation” serendipity, I’m beginning to understand the source of my good fortune: intentional communities. I chose the right communities to join when I moved to Dallas and therefore I’m connecting with the right people, I’m attending and learning about the right kinds of events, I’m working on the right kinds of projects, and building my network in the right places.

The keyword here is “intentional.”

Given LBD Producers and IDEA for Africa (idea4africa.org) I knew that I needed a Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) and Impact Hub ‘one-two-punch-equivalent’ here in Dallas: spaces designed for and with start-ups and social enterprises (respectively) in mind. I found The Dallas Entrepreneur Center(Boston’s CIC) and The Grove (Boston’s Impact Hub). Both located in the West End: Dallas’ soon-to-be Innovation District.

Though I had a relatively clear picture of what I was looking to do upon my arrival in Dallas, it is through the connections I’ve made within these two communities that I’ve been able to learn about the entrepreneurial landscape, meet the influencers, and begin to make an impact on the greater Dallas community.

I guess this is what people mean when they say “there is no such thing as luck”… But, I’d amend that statement to say “there is no such thing as luck, just intentional accelerated serendipity.”

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