Summary

Planners have an uneasy relationship with chance. The very word 'Planning' implies a logical process thought-out in advance. Any thinking done backwards is sniffed at as being post-rationalised - a cardinal sin.

But that isn't how things happen in real life. Whether in advertising or in fields like science, a lot of the great discoveries have been made by embracing fortunate happenstance. Remember how Alexander Flemming invented penicillin?

Modern planners must be able to work like this, marrying stable, long-term thinking with agile responsiveness.

They must be grounded in logic, but alert to serendipity.

This paper tells the story of how we leveraged the power of serendipity for Hostelworld -the biggest online booking engine for hostels.

Having clearly and logically defined the role of communication (showcase the modern hostelling experience), we were prepared to act when serendipity struck.

And it did so three times, each a little different from the last.