Serendipity: the role of chance and accidents in creativity

Ross, Wendy (2024) Serendipity: the role of chance and accidents in creativity. Creativity Research Journal. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1532-6934


Chance plays an acknowledged role in creativity, but taking it seriously challenges traditional notions of talent and expertise as well as the importance of agency and intentionality. Chance without skill is not enough on its own to support creativity. The phenomenon of serendipity requires both luck and the skill to make the most of it. This review argues that it can provide a lens through which to understand how individual, emotional and environmental factors interact in the creative process. However, serendipity is acknowledged to be a complex phenomenon that is not easily investigated from an empirical perspective. This review addresses some of the complexities, offers methodological recommendations and surveys some emerging findings.

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