Serendipitous Innovation and Cigars

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …”

Isaac Asimov

Long before a pandemic forced discussions about a workforce that mainly worked from home (after decades of predictions), there was research on what is now called serendipitous innovation. This primarily refers to unintended positive results from experiments (that might otherwise be thought failures).

The phrase can also refer to the way conversations often take a meandering path. That is where cigars and cigar shops can be of assistance - pandemic or no...

Next time you get writer's block or just hit a wall with a problem, and there are no co-workers around - take a break. If at home, you may be tempted to go to your favorite smoke spot and have a small cigar, but try some serendipity.

Take your laptop or notepad to your favorite cigar shop. Buy a Churchill and get a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage). Light up and sit back. Eventually the conversation will turn to why you are there and...

Now you have an opening to explain your problem to a new audience (usually with a wealth of problem solving experience). Even if you don't get your current problem solved, you'll probably come away with some new ideas and friends. Somebody might even end up saying, "That's funny..." The worst thing to happen would be that you took time to enjoy a good cigar and some good company.


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