Serendipity as an actualization of the ‘adjacent possible’

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningfagfællebedømt

The presentation outlines selected aspects of serendipity based on my entry ‘Adjacent Possible’ (Björneborn 2020) in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible.
The concept of the ‘adjacent possible’ stems from how biological evolution can be seen as exploration and actualization of what is adjacent possible, i.e., available at hand, at a given point in evolution. The concept has spread into a wide range of research fields including innovation studies, technological evolution, cultural evolution, learning processes, recommender systems, possibility studies, and more. The concept covers the set of possibilities available to, i.e., actualizable by, specific entities at a specific point in time.
The presentation addresses how the concept can be used to understand how we serendipitously discover, explore, and learn from new ‘adjacent’ (‘nearby’) things in all fields of life. Serendipity is seen as an actualization of adjacent possible resources (information, things, people, events, etc.) we find both interesting and unplanned, ranging from innovation and scientific discoveries to everyday encounters, ‘micro-serendipity’. Serendipity is important to help us discover and actualize more of these potentially interesting resources in the vast, ever reconfiguring, and essentially unpredictable space of ‘adjacent possibles’.
The presentation discusses serendipity and the ‘adjacent possible’ regarding different aspects such as interest development, learning processes, ‘resonance’ (Hartmut Rosa), ‘uncontrollability’ (ibid.), and ‘co-serendipity’, i.e., serendipity in a group context. Examples include physical and digital ‘possibility spaces’ like cities, libraries, and social media supporting serendipity through design features that help us discover, explore, choose between, and thus actualize adjacent possible resources in life.
Publikationsdato17 maj 2022
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 17 maj 2022
Begivenhed2nd International Conference in Possibility Studies: Networks of Possibility - online
Varighed: 16 maj 202219 maj 2022


Konference2nd International Conference in Possibility Studies

ID: 308487745