Category Archives: Creative thinking

There are many shades of white | Epiphany 2016

As my friends know, I like January 6th! Every year they receive a mail with good wishes on this day.

It’s Epiphany day – the 12th and last day of Christmas. For me it is also the day of changing perspective – a magic pivot. The holiday season is over and we can focus on the coming year.

IwishYOUmanyEPIPHANIES_3

 

A great moment to wish you all the best and:

I wish you many Epiphanies in 2016!

Epiphany also stands for an experience of sudden and striking realization. The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine (see the link with the three magi). Today, this concept is used much more often also without such connotations, but a popular implication remains that the epiphany is supernatural, as the discovery seems to come suddenly from the outside. More on this see below.

There are many shades of white

When we were visiting the biennale in Venice last year we also went to the pavilion of Uruguay. When we entered the room, our first thought was that Uruguay did not manage to reach the deadline, because we could – at first sight – not see anything. Only white walls. Nothing there. We just wanted to turn around and stroll further.
But, wait a minute, there are some people close to the walls looking into the deep white space. We went closer and then our eyes adjusted to the bright light and we started to see shapes, forms, shadows of tiny paper objects. The rich world of cut-out white paper on white surface. There were literally Many Shades of White. The artist is Marco Maggi.

It also reminded me of the work of John Cage and his conceptual 4’33” piece about silence. Or better, the ability to focus, listen and look very carefully. A good exercise I want to keep in mind for the coming year. In the hope to get many epiphanies.

 

What exactly is epiphany, here is a collection (repost from 2012):

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.

mail-epiphany-2016

Christof Zürn,
Nijmegen, 6th of January 2016

 

Need more inspiration?

Please consider to visit my other websites:
www.creative-companion.com for Design Thinking, Service Design, User Experience Design and Online Strategy.
www.MusicThinking.com for inspiration, tools and discussions about how music can help us to be more creative.

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Google is using music thinking to promote YouTube with insights and infographics | #EDM #MusicThinking

EDM electronic dance music the-biggest-music-genre-youve-never-heard-of_infographics_lg

Think with Google the research and insights portal of Google posted a new article using music (in this case EDM electronic dans music) to show their compelling data and drive brands to YouTube to connect with their audience. They do this with a very nice infographic in the form of a decision tree.

The Biggest Music Genre You’ve Never Heard Of

How much do you know about EDM, or electronic dance music? Whether it’s a lot, a little or none at all, you’ll want to tune in to this profile of EDM fans. What you see might just surprise you: For example, while millennials under 25 view the most EDM content on YouTube, older audiences are becoming increasingly interested as well. And it turns out that EDM fans are more likely than their peers to be online, engaging in tech-savvy behaviors such as buying music online or following a brand on a social network. See how fans are increasingly turning to YouTube to learn more about music genres such as EDM and the opportunities this creates for brands.

have-you-heard-of-edm_infographics

Download PDF: EDM electronic dance music

This is a nice example of Music Thinking

What you see is what will be – Epiphany 2015

Epiphany_2015_CREATIVE_COMPANION-lowres

January 6, is a special day! Epiphany day – the 12th and last day of Christmas. For me it is also the day of changing perspective. The holiday season is over and we can focus on the coming year. A good moment to wish you all the best for 2015!

But epiphany is also an experience of sudden and striking realization. The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine (see the link with the three magi). Today, this concept is used much more often also without such connotations, but a popular implication remains that the epiphany is supernatural, as the discovery seems to come suddenly from the outside.
More on epiphany in an older post.

My epiphany exercise
Over the last year I made more than 3.000 pictures with my iPhone camera. Snapshots, selfies, screenshots or pictures to just remember something; people, things, situations.

49 pictures from more than 3000 pictures on my iPhone in 2014 - What you see is what will be.

81 pictures (of more than 3000) on my iPhone in 2014. Click to enlarge.
(c) CREATIVE COMPANION 2015

Above you see 81 pictures from my iPhone collection ‘more or less’ selected randomly and ‘more or less’ grouped unintentionally: pictures from workshops, encounters, visits to museums or cities, personal pictures with family and friends; pictures while traveling, being on vacation or sessions, while working, lecturing, pictures of things that somehow reached my iPhone. If we have met the last year you may recognize some of the pictures.  I love the pattern, the red line, something that connects all or at least some of the pictures.

But it is not just about what I have nearly literally seen, but what do you see? You can click on the picture to get a higher resolution.
Is it funny, innovative, useless, disgusting or – wait a minute – something (maybe familiar), something you have not seen this way? Something that suddenly triggers your mind, get you an idea or an epiphany? Be my guest. Have many of them. Share them if you like.

Use your own pictures
Why not do this with your own pictures? Take 81 pictures (less or more) from your camera, smartphone (think Pinterest, iPhoto, Instagram, …) and make a new pattern of pictures. Maybe you see new things or old things in a new way – isn’t innovation for 99% the connection of already existing things?
Try to find the word, phrase, motto that connects all the pictures, make groups or just have fun with all the colors. What you see is what will be.

I wish you many epiphanies in the coming year!

 

10 Quotes from the big world of music – Music Thinking Quotes Vol. 1

For quite some time I am collecting quotes that have a connection with what I call Music Thinking (more about Music Thinking click here). At the same time I am working on a more systematic way to collect and combine music thinking principles. I am working now with 6 principles of music thinking: agility, empathy, personality, jammin’, score and remix. More about that in a later post.

Here are 10 quotes of more or less famous people with a music thinking connection. Hope you like it.

Dance first. Think later.  It's the natural order. One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz. If you aren't making a mistake, it's a mistake. I HAVEN’T UNDERSTOOD A BAR OF MUSIC IN MY LIFE, BUT I HAVE FELT IT. THE WORDS ARE THE IMPORTANT THING. DON’T WORRY ABOUT TUNES. TAKE A TUNE, SING HIGH WHEN THEY SING LOW, SING FAST WHEN THEY SING SLOW, AND YOU’VE GOT A NEW TUNE. ONE GOOD THING ABOUT MUSIC, WHEN IT HITS YOU, YOU FEEL NO PAIN. Songs are pretty easy. They are small, they are modular, they are about as big as a bagel. I prepare myself for rehearsals like I would for marriage. The best guide, in launching a new design project, is sometimes just to choose the right partner, clear the dancefloor, and trust our intuition. There is joy in repetition.

 

 

You can also find the presentation on SlideShare (download enabled).

Creativity, Music and E-learning

Today I got my official statement of accomplishment from the Stanford Online course led by Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program. It states that I have successfully completed, serving as a team leader and with distinction, a free online offering of Creativity: Music to My Ears by Standford University through NovoEd.

This six-week experiential course focused on opportunity recognition, reframing problems, challenging assumptions, connecting and combining ideas, working on creative teams, and mastering a mindset of innovation. It was also a good opportunity to work with the e-learning platform. I would recommend it for another course.

Here is the trailer:

Creativity: Music to My Ears from Stanford Tech Ventures Program on Vimeo.

And here the final class video.

Creativity: Music to My Ears, the final photo project montage from Stanford Tech Ventures Program on Vimeo.

It was fun to do this online course together with more than 20.000 participants from all over the world.

Here is a selection of some material from the course for inspiration, including some old time classic of creativity like The Powers of Ten, or The 6 Thinking Heads:

YOUR INNOVATION ENGINE
Introducing the Innovation Engine by Tina Seelig

LISTENING DIFFERENTLY
with the key concepts: The importance of active observation, Noticing opportunities around you, Capturing your observations.
Video: 5 Ways to Listen Better by Julian Treasure

CHALLENGING ASSUMTIONS
with the key concepts: Framing and reframing problems, Tools for changing your point of view, Going beyond the first answer, Brainstorming guidelines, Team challenge.
Powers of Ten – Ray & Charles Eames (1977)
de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
Video: How NOT to Brainstorm
Video: How to Brainstorm

CONNECT & COMBINE
with the key concept: Engaging Your Audience and Telling Your Story in a Creative Way.
Designing Music
Video: Everything is a Remix

CREATIVE MINDSET
with the key concepts: The importance of experimentation, Learning from failures, Mastering a mindset for creativity
Treat Life Like and Experiment– Tom Kelley, IDEO
Life Lessons Through Tinkering – Gever Tully