Collisions!

I was listening to a podcast on NPR’s  All Things Considered this week that got me thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday, hectic travel,  family and friend get-togethers  (or at least my family and friends!) and our blog. Passengers at George Bush Intercontinental airport crowd ter

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, shared his “collision” theory of collaboration and innovation. He describes it as “bringing the spirit of a party” to work.  By encouraging random collisions between people new ideas are generated, productivity goes up and an innovative culture is fostered. Taking action as a leader to promote serendipity and almost random networking opportunities between people, within and outside of your institution, is a way to  “institutionalize return on luck.” (Forbes article) Bumping into your distant uncle at the Thanksgiving table or a stranger at the airport or a neighbor at the gas station may just spark a conversation that leads to a new idea next Monday at work!

Hsieh has removed a skyway between two buildings to get his people outside and walking on the public sidewalks so they bump into more people, other organizations have added trivia games to elevator doors to spark random conversations, and National Public Radio hosts “serendipity days” where groups of employees randomly come together to work on projects. (Wall Street Journal – online)

At your campus or in your organization where can you find places for people to bump into each other and perhaps make a connection? Given the opportunity people can find new ideas in the strangest places. Who knows, in addition to catching up on medical conditions and getting some new recipe’s I may get an idea for my next blog at dinner tomorrow!

Have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Todd Thorsgaard

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