THE SERENDIPITY MACHINE – reviewed by Joachim Lohkamp

When I stumbled upon a post of The Serendipity Machine from my friend Bert-Ola Bergstrand on facebook I instantaneously downloaded the book and started reading. There was an intuitive hunch that I couldn’t resist. I read the whole book this same morning and now know it was worth every page of reading. The book provides a great description of social capital dynamics in meshed networks… it tells us about experiences and best practices from the co-working world which can be easily adopted to any other field of collaboration.

Most literature about Social Capital tends to be rather abstract and theoretical, often falling short of real life scenarios and implications. The Serendipity Machine tells the story of seats2meet, a dutch network of co-working spaces, that started to discover how to turn an environment into a sustainable resource. The disruptive model openly asks independent professionals to offer their skills within the community to support each other in return for free co-working spaces, Wifi, coffee and lunch. The outcome of this environmental setting turned out to become a profound and lively mesh network of free agents that connect, disconnect and reconnect through the open network to tackle jobs and create values that none could have done without the network her/himself.

This dynamic of mutual support, transparency and open information flow creates serendipity encounters and opportunities which unleash social capital. This new way of independent, yet interconnected togetherness unveils the enormous potential that social capital clearly sets apart from traditional organizational structures that still use the approach of intellectual property management. JOLOCOM, Living Bridges Planet, SCWF (Social Capital World Forum), Multinnova, DiY Days, JellyWeek, Edgeryders, DreamUps and Seats2Meet are some of the initiatives discovering, co-creating and co-developing Social Capital as grassroots engine for value creation and social change! Let’s continue to melt the degrees of separation, connect to each other, support each other and make use of the huge potential that lies within Social Capital!