All opinions expressed in these episodes are personal and do not reflect the opinions of the organizations for which our guests work.
Why do some organizations thrive, while others slumber? Are they just lucky? And if so, can we understand that luck? Lane Becker thinks so. The one time startup founder has since worked with Code for America, 18F, and the US GSA—including running incubator programs in those organizations. He’s currently the president of Wikimedia. And he’s the author of Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work For You and Your Business.
In preparation for our third Executive Book Club, I interviewed Lane about serendipity, opportunistic thinking, and what organizations can do to create “luck” of their own.
The book was published in 2012, at a time when we had a far more utopian view of technology than we do today. It contains a few anachronisms: Influencers are called influentials; the book celebrates open-plan offices, which we now know hamper deep thinking. But most of its lessons are timeless, and it’s packed with case studies.
In the ensuing nine years, Lane’s spent time in civic tech, government, and nonprofits. So in addition to getting an understanding of the book, we touched on how Get Lucky’s lessons might apply to the public sector.
If Lane looks familiar, that’s because he delivered an amazing keynote at FWD50, Finding, funding, and defending good ideas inside government, in 2018 in Ottawa.