The Case for Collisions

I became enamored with this concept of creating collisionable opportunities once I heard Tony Hsieh of Zappos drop the idea.

Through planning and design, it is about creating points of bottleneck, tension and intentional collisions of humanity.

Through those collisions – you are accelerating serendipity in the hopes those unplanned moments will spark creativity and ideas.

Whether inside the office (which you can do by decreasing the amount of physical/individual space employees have) or outside the building (by decreasing the number of entry points, putting a shared distance between where they park and work).

Tony is planning out these opportunities for collisions and serendipity in the development of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas.

We are a group of passionate people committed to helping to transform Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world. We are doing that by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core.

Our primary goal is to help to create an environment that encourages serendipity…the opportunity to unexpectedly collide with people from different backgrounds. Serendipity encourages people to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and accelerates learning

Here’s Tony’s slideshare presentation on the project.

This idea came full circle at the end of the day when I was introduced to the geek-artist Leo Villareal (my moniker for him), who is the visionary behind The Bay Lights So inspiring from both an artistic and public project perspective.

But what resonated the most had to do with the true public component of the piece – and its visibility from San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Leo eloquently shared how part of his desire was to create a conversation piece for the public. So that those watching and enjoying the piece would have a shared experience with the stranger next to them, leading to a conversation and exchange of thoughts and opinions. And perhaps that serendipitous sharing of thoughts could spark something else.

I see it as a focal point, something people can gather around. People who have never talked to each other are suddenly talking and it’s literally creating community. It’s almost become a digital campfire

Synapses are definitely firing now on how to create these collision opportunities in my own world – both within my agency and my community.

(Not quite the same as being there – but here is a live web cam to get your Bay Lights fix, as well as a Vimeo channel)

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