How to Manage Serendipities


Lennart Svensson and Göran Brulin

Linköping University


Innovative projects and programmes are difficult to manage, especially in complicated and quickly changing context with different stakeholders. The term “serendipities” is basic to our analysis of hidden and surprising effects. It is synonymous with “lucky accidents” or “satisfying coincidences”. It involves tracing processes backwards – which requires a thinking based on a combination of intuition and wisdom. It means drawing conclusions from a number of facts and clues. It involves getting to grips with the cause of an event even though the causal chain is not linear but discontinuous and jerky.

The knowledge formation and evaluation approaches chosen in development work are crucial for determining the consequences of implementation. Projects have to respond rapidly, flexibly and innovatively to new opportunities that occur in the context. Agile project management becomes a natural consequence of our perspective on knowledge formation and evaluation.


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About the Authors

dr lennart svenssonDr Lennart Svenssonflag-sweden

Linköping University, Sweden 

Dr. Lennart Svensson is professor in sociology at Linköping University ([email protected]) and a member of the research management team at HELIX VINN, Centre of Excellence (see www.liu.se/helix). He is also Research Manager at APeL, an R&D-centre for workplace learning and the framework for different development projects (see www.apel-fou.se). His research field has covered local and regional development, workplace learning, interactive research, networks, partnerships and project work. He is author or co-author of more than thirty books.

pmwj27-oct2014-Svensson-AUTHOR2 BRULINDr Göran Brulinflag-sweden

Swedish Agency for Economic

and Regional Growth

Dr. Göran Brulin is senior analyst at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth ([email protected]). He is responsible for on-going evaluation of the European Regional Development Programmes. He is adjunct professor in local and regional innovations at Linköping University and associated with HELIX VINN, Centre of Excellence (see www.liu.se/helix). His research interests include interactive local and regional development, organization of work, business administration and management and economic sociology.