As some of you might know, I am currently a Creative Community Fellow with the National Arts Strategies. This program brings together a unique community of innovators committed to using arts and culture to design solutions for community problems. I have had the opportunity to learn from experts and world renowned thought leaders in social innovation, design thinking and creative place making. One of the courses we did in our ‘fellows toolkit’ focused on Luck Circles. I really wanted to share this concept with others as I found it very interesting and think you might too.
So the luck circle is not some kind of weird concept, its something we probably do from time to time but we don’t do enough. It is based on research by a professor named Mark Granovetter from Stanford. He discovered that people get most good things through people they know. True? Yes. But what is most fascinating is that most of these ‘lucky breaks’ don’t come from close friends but through casual acquaintances and those people we actually don’t know really well.
The reason for this is, and I quote from the toolkit; “We travel in the same circles as our good friends. They know most of the same people, the same opportunities, and the same resources as we do. But when we stumble across a relative stranger, they travel in completely different circles. They are exposed to different books, ideas, and people than we are. They might be able to connect us with resources and people that we would never otherwise have encountered.”
I know this has been true in my experiences. Whenever I venture out of my usual space or comfort zone, I tend to meet more diverse people and I get to meet their friends and the friends of their friends. What ends up happening is I get exposed to opportunities, events, resources that I wouldn’t have known about in any other way. When I ask or make a request in these situations, more often than not there is someone with a different suggestion, connection or a referral to someone else.I get different viewpoints and ideas and this helps me to broaden my worldview and resource pool. I have a curious soul and I have always loved to tap into different circles.
I haven’t always done the same in my professional life. Being on this fellowship has helped me to use the luck circle concept in developing my project Culture Axis Africa. In the past few weeks alone I have had the most fascinating conversations with new acquaintances and friends, people I did not know well before. It has been a fantastic time of learning new ideas, meeting the right people and connecting with resources and networks that I had no clue about before. I have found that by networking more an more, I can tap into connections and resources that fall outside of my usual circle. And the most surprising thing- people are more than willing to help and share their knowledge and insight when they can.
I am looking forward to introducing this luck circle concept as a game at a meetup with creatives that a new friend plans on organizing. Let me know if any of you try it out. Get together with a group of people you don’t know well, share some personal or professional goals and others in the group can suggest connections and resources that may help you to achieve that goal.
Happy luck circling!
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