Time flies

This was definitely not the year of blogging for me. I just realized that this blog was very silence for a long time. Too much happend or with other words, there must have been some higher priorities 😉

What really surprises me is that although I did not post anything since January, there was even more traffic on the blog than last year – cool without doing anything I a had a great reach.


This has to do that there is one post that I did years ago is still on the absolute top list of my blogs. The persona core poster. The poster I designed years ago and offer for free under creative commons. This will be my guide for the near future, to write about relevant things with a practical approach.


The next posts on the list, a fraction of the traffic compared with the persona core poster, is a mix of my Music Thinking and Design Thinking activities: the link between music taste and persona, personas and female mindstyles, five examples of the soundtrack of my life (mental note to myself: I should write a second one with more soundtracks), Darwin performance (my performance activities) and the redesign of the empathy poster, more on persona and design.

So I am confident to write more in the hope that the traffic will not go down. We will see.

Here is a to do list, to write about:

  • Publish my Music Thinking Framework for innovation and change (done!)
  • What is Service Design Thinking?
  • About the Design Thinking Center in Amsterdam
  • How to use personas (and what’s the problem why most of the persona initiatives in companies fail or stay on shallow ground)
  • … wil be continued.

Have a nice day!







More shades of white …

After my ‘Many Shades of white’ blog post on epiphany day, I got a lot of nice feedback. Especially ‘white’ as a theme got many positive reactions.

There is a nice link to artist Rutherford Chang‘s collection of the white album by the Beatles. Many media have written about the exhibition and the story behind like: Wired, the BBC and it is also included in the very nice book Dust & Grooves.


There is so much poetry in the collection, story telling and ….

A project of New York and Shanghai-based Rutherford Chang, We Buy White Albums includes nearly 700 copies of the 1968 double-LP first edition of the White Album, all the personal collection of Chang. Each album is marked with a distinct serial number on the bottom corner of the starkly designed cover by Richard Hamilton, a totally white cover that’s readily attracted the wandering drawings of (possibly stoned) listeners, the visible stains of coffee cups, and some mold.



A muscial example

What happens when you take 100 different copies of a Beatles White Album first pressing vinyl record and lay them on top of each other?
Artist Rutherford Chang, who collects only first pressing White Albums has the answer.
Here is a work in progress, part of his exhibition “We Buy White Albums” at Recess Gallery, NYC.


Rutherford’s collection is documented on the vinyl website Dust & Grooves.
Read the full interview with Rutherford

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.



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.


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.

Connecting Business, People and Technology from ‘Best of Dutch Design’ in Discover Benelux Magazine September 2015

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to give an interview about my company CREATIVE COMPANION. You can find the results of this talk in the September Issue of Discover Benelux in the section ‘Best of Dutch Design’.


CREATIVE COMPANION - Discover Benelux - Best of Dutch Design

I work like a jazz musician: great music comes from great collaboration! Christof Zürn

Listen like a president – day and night

@POTUS (The President Of The United States) President Obama announced today 14 August 2015 via Twitter his favorite summer songs, one for the day another one for the night.

President Obama announcing Playlist on Twitter

President Obama announcing Playlist on Twitter

Here are the two playlist’s:

One for the day:


And one for the night: