Four days old and this video already has over two million hits on YouTube – all for being in the right place in the right time.
On face value there’s the drunkenness…
But it’s also a visualisation of serendipity in the design process. Eh!?
Stick with me… but first watch the film, it’s just two minutes.
First there’s the story…
Let’s pretend the film is about services. Services, particularly health and social services, can be tough for people to navigate – at times they may even appear to be inaccessible – ‘fenced off’.
In the film we see one service user struggling with a fence. Then another user comes along (an expert user) – this one is more savvy. He’s familiar with the system and skilled at identifying a way though. He also did his bit by showing the person struggling a new way through.
Clearly we can learn from these people.
But how do we find them?
Well, there is another person in the film that we should think about. People who design services should be like the person in the film that we don’t actually see – the person holding the camera. They’re far enough away to see the bigger picture but curious enough to zoom in on the detail. Through this film they set out to documented users struggling with a problem – the fence. But in doing this they accidentally captured a solution – or perhaps a more complex problem?!
Either way, they couldn’t have predicted the observation and they now have evidence of an existing work-around in use.
The problem/solution isn’t my concern for now – what we can take from this is that being in the right place at the right time can help us understand problems more clearly. Maybe reframe questions or identify reasonable solutions.
The right place at the right time. Serendipity.
Of course, we can’t possibly know when a serendipitous insight like this will occur. But, like the bear, we often aware of the best place to position ourselves.
Are you optimised for serendipity?
And serendipity is not exclusive to observation. We can simulate some of the conditions of being-in-the-right-place-right-time by looking at problems differently: empathy (putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes); storyboarding; prototyping; body-storming – all of these methods can help us look at a problem from another point of view and think differently.
Have you experience of being in the right place at the right time?
What was the impact?
Did you get over two million hits on YouTube?!