WISHING YOU EXTRAORDINARY EPIPHANIES IN 2020

Like every year, 6 January is the day to wish you all the best for 2020, with many extraordinary epiphanies.

This years story is about listening.

The difference between hearing and listening, the search for the signal in the noise. But also about art, electric guitars and deep listening.

Read the whole story on musicthinking.com

May you have a wonderful and wonderous time!

Christof Zürn
CREATIVE COMPANION

PS: What is Epiphany?

A collection of different meanings of Epiphany – what does Epiphany mean?

“Western churches generally celebrate the Visit of the Magi as the revelation of the Incarnation of the infant Christ, and commemorate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6″. (wikipedia)

But there are more meanings of epiphany, here a selection” :

  • EPIPHANY is the sudden realisation or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something.
  • PHILOSOPHICAL meaning: having found the last piece of the puzzle and suddenly seeing the whole picture.
  • ARCHIMEDES Eureka! I found it!
  • EINSTEIN was struck as a young child by being given a compass, and realising that some unseen force in space was making it move.
  • DARWIN An example of a flash of holistic understanding in a prepared mind was Charles Darwin’s “hunch” (about natural selection) during The Voyage of the Beagle.
  • JAMES JOYCE Referring to those times in his life when something became manifest, a deep realisation, he would then attempt to write this epiphanic realisation in a fragment. Joyce also used epiphany as a literary device within each short story of his collection Dubliners (1914) as his protagonists came to sudden recognitions that changed their view of themselves or their social condition and often sparking a reversal or change of heart.
  • In RELIGION it is used when a person realises their faith or when they are convinced that an event or happening was really caused by a deity or being of their faith.
  • WESTERN CHRISTIAN Religion: The adoration of the magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star 12 days after christmas.
  • HINDUISM epiphany might refer to the realisation of Arjuna that Krishna (a God serving as his charioteer in the “Bhagavad Gita”) is indeed representing the universe.
  • In ZEN kensho describes the moment, referring to the feeling attendant on realising the answer to a koan.
  • BUDDHISM Buddha finally realising the nature of the universe, and thus attaining nirvana.
  • WILLIAM BURROUGHS is talking about a drug-influenced state, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is at the end of the fork (naked lunch).
  • EPIPHANIES is the thirteenth episode of the second season of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series.
  • EPIPHANY is a web browser for the GNOME graphical computing desktop.
  • HIERONYMUS BOSCH painted the adoration of the magi around 1495.
  • HOMER SIMPSON has an epiphany, after visiting a strange Inuit shaman, and realises he has to save the town from Russ Cargill’s plans to destroy Springfield.
  • The last page of THE WIRE magazine with surprising sonic stories about music is called EPIPHANIES.
  • Interesting: if you search for Epiphanies or Epiphany on TWITTER many people talk about that they (just) had an epiphany, but don’t exactly say what it was.

Since 2011 CREATIVE COMPANION is sending out epiphany greetings on the 6th of January.

Poetry Exchange

End of the year I got an e-mail with the following text:

Dear friends,
We’re starting a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting
exchange.
It’s a one-time thing and we hope you will participate. We have picked
those we think would be willing and make it fun.
Please send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 below (even
if you don’t know them).
It should be a favorite text/verse/meditation that has affected you in
difficult times. Don’t agonize over it.

I am really not a fan of mails like this and some people reminded me that this is just a chain letter. However I did not agonize over it 🙂

Here are the poems, quotes, text, or whatever I could collect so far. They are in four different languages sent by people I know and some total strangers. In any case an interesting read!

Our Deepest Fear (by Marianne Williamson)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

‘True Belonging’ a quote by Brene Brown

(from the book: Braving the Wilderness)

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing
in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can
share your most authentic self with the world and
find sacredness in both being a part of something
and standing alone in the wilderness.

True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you
are. It requires you to be who you are”.

Please Come Home (by Jane Hooper)

Please come home. Please come home.
Find the place where your feet know to walk
And follow your own trail home.

Please come home. Please come into your own body,
Your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell
And fully into the space that surrounds you.

Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,
and your instincts and your ways and your knowings,
And even the particular quirks of your personality.

Please come home.
Please come home and once you are firmly there,
please stay home awhile and come to deep rest within.
Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.
Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.

Please come home.
Please come home and when you’re really, really ready,
And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please come out.
Please come home and please come forward.
Please express who you are to us, and please trust us
To see you and hear you and touch you
and recognize you as best we can.

Please come home. Please come home and let us know
all the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.
Please come home, and let us know the More
that is there that wants to come out.

Please come home. Please come home,
and when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too.
for we too forget that we belong and are welcome,
and that we are called to express and fully and be who we are.

Please come home. Please come home,
you and you and you and me.

Thank you Earth for welcoming us,
and thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,
touch of love for welcoming us.

May we wake up and remember who we truly are.

Please come home. Please come home. Please come home.

Das verlorene Paradies (by John Milton)

Doch wen, zunächst, wen senden wir dorthin,
Um diese neue Welt zu suchen, wer
Soll würdig unter uns befunden werden?
Wer soll den bodenlosen, unermess’nen
Und finstern Abgrund zu bewandern wagen
Und einen unbekannten Weg sich bahnen
Durch das massive Dunkel, oder wer,
Auf luftigen Schwingen durch die leeren Schründe
Im Fluge unermüdlich fort sich tragend,
Auf der glückseligen Insel schließlich landen?

Demain dès l’aube (by Victor Hugo)

Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et, quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

‘Style’ (by Charles Bukowski)

“Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art

Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art
Opening a can of sardines can be an art

Not many have style
Not many can keep style
I have seen dogs with more style than men,
although not many dogs have style.
Cats have it with abundance.

When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun,
that was style.
Or sometimes people give you style
Joan of Arc had style
John the Baptist
Jesus
Socrates
Caesar
García Lorca.

I have met men in jail with style.
I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.
Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water,
or you, naked, walking out of the bathroom without seeing me.”

Design in Tech Report 2019 by John Maeda

Full with insights from the ever changing tech world, but also thoughts about humanity and how we can use tech for good. John Maeda has compiled many infos, insights and surprises together with a big team of contributors.

See here a pre view with a short summary of the report

As of Sunday 10th of March 2019 you can review the report here as a sort of slide show:

Link to Design in Tech Report 2019

On the Cover Artwork by Eriko Kawakami

Epiphany 2019 – Limitation as creativity trigger

Now nine years in a row I did not send any Christmas cards or new years wishes. As my friends know I use the 12th and last day of the Christmas season to wish you all the luck for the new year. Happy Epiphany!

For all of you who hear the Epiphany story for the first time, below is a copy from the last years with some explanation and examples of Epiphanies.

Look back to 2018

The last year was a year of full-swing creativity and many activities, here I want to just mention a few.
The highlight was the publishing of the Music Thinking Jam Cards by BIS publishers and the launch of the new Music Thinking Website with the music thinking framework and a blog. Followed by a music thinking masterclass at the design thinkers conference and an evening for the designers DNA (creative leadership platform). All of this was a real boost of Music Thinking, and as an effect, we got a lot of response and reactions even until Japan. Hope this will lead to new developments.

After nearly 3 years I stopped as Chief Design Officer at the Design Thinking Center in Amsterdam to focus more on Music Thinking and other activities. I did so many workshops, design sprints and training in the last 3 years (maybe more than 250 workshops days) it needed a break.

Further, I started the collaboration with Faebric a cooperative focused on crafting value systems with blockchain and did some training for the Design Thinkers Academy (Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai).
Let’s not forget the two concerts of Raum-Musik für Saxophone on the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb and a lot of other musical collaborations.
At the end of the year, we moved into a new house and said goodbye to gas and oil – the new full-electric car will be ready next week.

Wishing you many Epiphanies in 2019

The epiphany story of this year is about limitations or better the possibilities that appear if we are open to focus and make the best of all the limitations.
And I think there will be many because the way we live is not compatible with nature and the planet. I would like to inspire myself to see the limitations as new starting points for great things. I wrote on the music thinking blog a ‘behind the cards’ story with the Limitations card as the trigger. Read the story: Limitation as the starting point for creativity

Hope you like it!

All the best for 2019, have a great year
Christof Zürn


A collection of different meanings of Epiphany:

  • EPIPHANY is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something.
  • PHILOSOPHICAL meaning: having found the last piece of the puzzle and suddenly seeing the whole picture.
  • ARCHIMEDES Eureka! I found it!
  • EINSTEIN was struck as a young child by being given a compass, and realizing that some unseen force in space was making it move.
  • DARWIN An example of a flash of holistic understanding in a prepared mind was Charles Darwin’s “hunch” (about natural selection) during The Voyage of the Beagle.
  • JAMES JOYCE Referring to those times in his life when something became manifest, a deep realization, he would then attempt to write this epiphanic realization in a fragment. Joyce also used epiphany as a literary device within each short story of his collection Dubliners (1914) as his protagonists came to sudden recognitions that changed their view of themselves or their social condition and often sparking a reversal or change of heart.
  • In RELIGION it is used when a person realizes their faith or when they are convinced that an event or happening was really caused by a deity or being of their faith.
  • WESTERN CHRISTIAN Religion: The adoration of the magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star 12 days after christmas.
  • HINDUISM epiphany might refer to the realization of Arjuna that Krishna (a God serving as his charioteer in the “Bhagavad Gita”) is indeed representing the universe.
  • In ZEN kensho describes the moment, referring to the feeling attendant on realizing the answer to a koan.
  • BUDDHISM Buddha finally realizing the nature of the universe, and thus attaining nirvana.
  • WILLIAM BURROUGHS is talking about a drug-influenced state, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is at the end of the fork (naked lunch).
  • EPIPHANIES is the thirteenth episode of the second season of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series.
  • EPIPHANY is a web browser for the GNOME graphical computing desktop.
  • HIERONYMUS BOSCH painted the adoration of the magi around 1495.
  • HOMER SIMPSON has an epiphany, after visiting a strange Inuit shaman, and realizes he has to save the town from Russ Cargill’s plans to destroy Springfield.
  • The last page of THE WIRE magazine with surprising sonic stories about music is called EPIPHANIES.
  • Interesting: if you search for Epiphanies or Epiphany on TWITTER many people talk about that they (just) had an epiphany, but don’t exactly say what it was.

Music Thinking Blog

Today we launched the Music Thinking blog on Musicthinking.com 

Now is the time for a blog about music thinking.  Since the new music thinking website went online, there is a lot to share, and so we decided to start a blog about everything music thinking. We will share updates about workshops, programmes, new templates, tips and tricks and you can read all the 38 stories from ‘Behind the Cards’ – the background thoughts about every inspiration card of the Music Thinking Jam Cards.

musicthinking-blog

Visit the Music Thinking Blog

World Saxophone Congress video

For the third time in a row, I attended the World Saxophone Congress. After St. Andrews (Scottland) and Strassbourg (France), the triannual congress was held in Zagreb (Croatia). With Raum-Musik für Saxophone we played two concerts. Here the two videos with thanks to James E Cunningham for the videos.

Grič Tunnel, Zagreb

French Pavillion, Zagreb

A tactile approach to Service Design Thinking – Design Thinking & Lego Serious Play

Service Design Thinking is an approach to problem-solving that allows individuals to rapidly identify challenges and then go big on ideas before picking one or two to ideate, test and evaluate. 
Principles are:
  • Holistic – seeing the big picture in relation to details
  • Empathy – human-centered focus on real needs
  • Co-creation- iterative approach with stakeholders involved
At the intersection are ideas that last, ideas that are surprising, ideas that work. Before moving into the solution space of the Design Thinking process we heavily rely on words: spoken or written.  But words have two inherent limitations.
  1. Firstly most of us filter what we say, only articulating things that will make us sound smart, intelligent and well educated.
  2. Secondly, the part of most necessary for Design Thinking to work, the Limbic System where passion, music, creativity, and love sit – does not have any language capabilities. In other words, it’s almost impossible to articulate love, music, feelings and conceptual ideas.
One of the challenges in Design Thinking is to visualize all the words people use and make them meaningful for everyone involved. We use a set of tools, canvases, visual techniques and a lot of different materials to play with possible solutions and tinker with a prototype. One of the materials we use in prototyping is Lego.

Design-Thinking-Lego-Serious-Play 2

Service Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play

But there is more to Lego than just playing. Lego Serious Play, the methodology created by LEGO over ten years ago, is an approach that allows teams to find creative solutions to open-ended challenges. The real strength of Lego Serious Play is that we don’t use words, we use ‘art’ and creativity to express something – in this case Lego. It allows for more complex and creative concepts and ideas to be modeled.

Design-Thinking-Lego-Serious-Play 1

Building models with Lego Serious Play

Together with Ben Wickham we thought about how we could combine the strength of Design Thinking and Lego (Serious) Play to design ‘a tactile and playful approach to Service Design Thinking’.
We are going to crash these two concepts together: taking Design Thinking as the roadmap and Lego (Serious) Play as the way we execute. The result is a tactile approach to Design Thinking, for those groups and challenges that require a more intensive and deeper approach.
On the 28th & 29th March, at the Design Thinking Centre in Amsterdam, Ben Wickham & myself will lead a two-day workshop to help you get to grips with the basics of both approaches and their collaborative power. To help us, we have identified a global challenge to address: that of urbanization. If we can fix that – we can fix anything…
We would love to see you.
Click here to book, or if you have any questions, drop Ben or me a line.
See you end of March.