The power of pull: maximising serendipity through innovation networks

Lorraine Johnston, John Diamond

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Using Schumpeter’s notion of ‘the power of pull’, the article will argue that maximising serendipity is key for creating quality social networks. Such chance interactions between Higher Education institutions and policy communities are often the result of reciprocated and shared mutual advantages aimed at exploiting tacit knowledge for practice based solutions. In the current context of austerity and ‘Big Society’ the authors’ explore what constitutes ‘serendipity’ in developing social network relationships. Whilst the ‘state’ is actively seeking greater co-production, co-creation, co-evolution and co-specialisation of knowledges between socially responsive and highly interactive societies (private, public, voluntary, higher education and individual citizens) cultivating serendipity in social network relationships requires ‘value chains’, ‘critical friendships’, ‘trust’ and social cohesiveness (including the membership size; compatibility and permanence). The article argued that whilst serendipitous relationships are complex to manage they challenge the more traditional modes of creating social network relationships. On a more positive note, developing reciprocal relationships can act as a catalyst for and encourages greater risk-taking (also referred to as ‘risky-shift’) which in turn leads to more innovative solutions to practice problems and in many cases friendship to form. The paper reflects on the authors’ ongoing research and experiences to highlight the potential of serendipity to mobilise synergies between quality social networks. Further, they argue that whilst maximising ‘serendipity’ promotes shared knowledges between communities, quality social networks it requires goodwill and this can take time develop.


    Conference11th Regeneration Management Research Network Conference: Big Society: Little State: Regeneration in times of austerity
    Period1/07/11 → …
    Internet address


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