In his book, The Serendipity Machine, Sebastian Olma describes how one firm in Utrecht, Holland, opened it’s doors to entrepreneurs in exchange for their social network.
Olma uses Seats2meet.com to explore serendipity, also known as a ‘happy accident’, at work. Initially, Seat2meet.com invited individuals to co-work in the lounge area of the office, an underused space, for free. 20 people soon turned into 150 but instead of feeling things had got out of hand, the owners of the business decided to make the most out of the opportunity.
The idea is that instead of paying a fee, users share information about their field of work in a booking system and in that way, they commit to the network. Serendipity occurs as a result of an increased likelihood of encounters that add value to the entrepreneur’s work or activity. As one of the entrepreneurs quoted in the book says:
The great thing about serendipity at Seats2meet.com is that you sometimes find what you weren’t even looking for, and then it suddenly hits you in a flash!
This requires a culture of openness and the use of digital technology to facilitate the process. It also reflects a new working environment in which people expect to share, collaborate, co-create. Olma suggests that:
Seats2meet.com has created a business model that is able to accommodate these digital bohemians and their creative revolution. It provides a platform for the ‘homeless’ entrepreneurs of the future to unleash their creative powers.
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