Category Archives: Storytelling

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:

Introducing the Innovation Engine by Tina Seelig

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

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

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

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



Dad’s Disc Delights – 15 seconds to get the essence

This is a wonderful and charming visual storytelling site on Instagram by London photographer Zoë Timmers. The visual attraction of the vinyl albums helps to tell the story and the love for the jazz heritage. Their challenge is to get the essence of a piece of music across in 15 seconds.

Great ‘Music Thinking‘ learning for all of us!

dadsdiscdelights on Instagram

Zoë’s father has worked in the music industry most of his life and fell in love with jazz early on. Zoë takes all the photos, and her dad writes the captions after their conversations about which records to feature in what order. Zoë publishes to Instagram, and her dad responds in comments.

For more from Zoë and her dad, follow @dadsdiscdelights
Go to their Instagram site:

Hope this will inspire more people to share their musical stories!
This is a picture from approx. eight years ago. There should be more.

The Soundtrack of my Life in 5 Records - Christof Zürn

The Soundtrack of my Life in 5 Records – Christof Zürn

Epiphany through Empathy – wishing you many Epiphanies in 2014!

The sixth of January is epiphany day – the 12th and last day of Christmas. The holiday season is over and we can focus on the coming year. A good moment to wish you all the best for 2014!

What epiphanies would we get, if we could see through the eyes of another person? I made a presentation under the title ‘Epiphany through Empathy‘ and hope you will like it.

Good luck, health and I hope you will have many epiphanies in 2014!

Epiphany through Empathy

Why should I back Ubuntu?

After reading ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek, I was wondering if the Why concept can help me with decision making.

In short the concept of the ‘Golden Circle’ by Sinek is an idea, an alternative perspective, that explains why some people and organizations are more innovative, more influential, command greater loyalty and are able to repeat their success over and over. The fundamental idea is that Why a company is doing something is much more important than the How and the What (although this has to be in sync!). Sinek is using the Apple-Why a lot in his book and presentations: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.”

When I heard about the Indigogo crowd funding campaign of Ubuntu Edge  – ‘the next generation of personal computing: smartphone and desktop PC in one state-of-the-art device by Cannonical’ , …


… I started to make a list of the why-how-what to make a decision to back this project or not.


“Ubuntu is an ancient African word / philosophy meaning:‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.”  from


The company Canonical has set up the biggest crowd funding challenge ever with a target of $ 32.000.000 to come up with a smartphone/computer that will challenge the big players like Apple and Samsung. Here the CEO explaining a lot of What and How, e.g. that the car industry has  Formula 1 to innovate and test new cutting-edge technology and that the mobile development is missing such a platform … Shuttleworth (CEO Canonical) says he wants to push developers to test the limits of processing power, storage, and screen technology. “It’s sort of like a concept car,” he says. “But instead of waiting three years to see if something like it gets built, we’re going to try and build it now.”

This is an interesting experiment to first finance the phone with enough followers and then just produce it. Would it be possible that Apple or Samsung would do the same?


Is the combination of smartphone and computer and the innovations that come along with it challenging enough? How will this work e.g. in Africa where more and more people get connected to the internet – not via PC but via mobile phones? Will there be less waste when we have more phones and less PC’s/Laptops?

I asked some friends to check the technical specifications of the new device and all of them were very positive, here is a list to compare:


Ubuntu Edge: Crowdfunding a Super-Smartphone

For me the WHY the HOW and the WHAT seem more or less in-sync with each other, although I would wish that Canonical would stress the WHY more in communication and action.

As Sinek puts it: WHY is  the believe, HOW are the actions we take to realize the WHY and WHAT are the results of those actions.

That’s why I backed Ubuntu Edge. Whether they make it or not, it feels good to back this experiment.

You can back until 21st August 2013:

Social Media and Sales – great Lesson from Gary Vaynerchuk

Years ago on e-day I had the pleasure to see a talk of Gary Vee. If you have ever seen Gary Vee or not, if you are in marketing, sales or any other business you should at least see this guy once. Here is a (one year old) talk he did at Inc 500 – it is amazing and funny. Don’t skip the last few minutes, the Q&A and the end is also really worth all your time.

Here are the things he is mentioning, but you better watch the whole 1 hour.

  • social media, ROI, it’s a race, it’s a branding race, it’s s a context race
  • Most of us are acting like a 19 year old dude, trying to close on the first transaction
  • It is all about long term value, not about the spend you get right now.
  • Marketing is like a cocktail party, everyone is in play …
  • Thank You Department (the offense) vs. Customer Service (the defense)
  • We call every single customer who places an order and thank them – and that’s it!
  • how much thank you economy stuff are you doing with your people?
  • NFC near fiels communication
  • we are extraverts, even if we are introverted
  • this social media game is not about talking: you need to wire your mouth shut and start using your ears. Because that is the game in play.
  • Word of mouth is the currency and now we have the infrastructure
  • we are in the eyeballs and ear business
  • go to twitter search instead of google search to see what your experience is like
  • retention is the game, life time value is the game.
  • What is the real ROI of social media, what’s the ROI of your mother?
  • The ROI of my mother is everything, I can’t show you in data the ROI of my mother but i promise you it is all of it.
  • really go deep emotionaly with your customer base – they should be your best friends
  • map your entire consumer base
  • push that human element