Happy Epiphany day 2021.
This years story is about the little things in life, read it here:
Happy Epiphany day 2021.
This years story is about the little things in life, read it here:
“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” :
Since 2011 CREATIVE COMPANION is sending out epiphany greetings on the 6th of January.
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
A collection of different meanings of Epiphany:
Also this holiday season I did not send any Christmas cards or new years wishes. As my friends know this is not about being impolite, but a tradition to do a mailing on the 6th of January and not earlier.
Today is 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 good moment to wish you many Epiphanies in 2018!
Epiphany is not only the last day of Christmas, but also stands for an experience of sudden and striking realisation. The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine. Nowadays 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.
The last year was full of epiphanies for me – some good, some bad. Some came ‘all of a sudden’ and some were a logical change that ‘step by step’ approached without noticing in the first place (or wanting to notice ;-). In any case at the beginning of this year I got my freedom back to work again independently as Creative Companion.
And this also gave a boost to finish an idea that too long was postponed: to create an Inspirational Card Set based on Music Thinking principles (as presented in October last year) and the Music Thinking Framework.
In december we started prototyping the Music Thinking Inspiration Cards and this January we will iterate to a set that can be tested in workshops. The idea is to use the cards in very different ways ranging from Serendipity to Strategy in direct connection with the Six Music Thinking Cues from Empathy to Remix of the Music Thinking Framework. The intention is to have the set ready for purchase after the summer vacation.
have a great year
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 about Epiphanies:
A collection of different meanings of Epiphany:
In my practice of many years as a Creative Director, User Experience Lead, Service Designer, Design Thinking Coach, Change Maker – or in summary as I call it ‘Creative Companion’ – I recognized a couple of things in the organizations and clients I worked for:
The last thing is not really surprising because musicians are natural collaborators and trained to work together in different constellations to perform a time-based experience. And this goes far beyond than just being on stage. This needs sometimes years of preparation, daily exercises and daily collaboration with a multitude of people to excel in a performance in front of a critical audience. Think about a jazz musician who acts as a teacher, a sideman, a leader of his own band, or as studio musician, or member of a big band or an orchestra in a total different genre.
Although I have no single solution on the raised questions above, I developed a framework that helps me to navigate these questions and make integrated decisions. Disclosure: this is not about music. The Music Thinking Framework is based on principles and learnings from my experiences and perspectives in music and the translation of these findings and patterns to the practice of a Creative Companion. The Music Thinking Framework has different parts: steps, dynamics, cues and instruments.
The Four Music Thinking Steps
The four steps LISTEN, TUNE, PLAY and PERFORM are surrounded by repeat marks, this means that it is a repeated pattern (and may never stop).
LISTEN stands for the openness to information with the focus on empathy beyond just understanding. Everything can be relevant in this step and should not be scoped out.
What is special: The Listen step is actually a timeline through all the steps. This means in every step you have to be open for information and should be capable to process it.
TUNE stands for making decisions based on clear guiding principles. LISTEN and TUNE together are two steps of the challenge space. It depends on the dynamics of the organization and project how much you can open up the listening and how many decisions you have to make.
PLAY is the first step of the solution space and has the function to open up again and bring in new perspectives, more ideas and deeper exploration. The difference here is, they will be judged by the decisions made in the TUNE step.
So the choices that have to be made in the PERFORM step are based on everything that has been done before. In time based art, there is no way back, you have to deliver. It is like standing on the stage, the audience is ready and you have to deliver what you have, no excuses. But if you have not opened up in the LISTEN step your first performance will be a risk, like going on stage unprepared and unexperienced.
The Six Music Thinking Cues
A musical cue is a section of a piece of music that’s intended to signal the time for a performer to carry out a certain action. A cue can also be given by a band member or conductor as a prompt to start or sync the playing. I realized in my practice while working on the intersection of business, people and technology that it would be nice to have some cues to take immediate action. I experienced many times that the following six cues work very well in business situations:
The Cues are more or less connected with each other and appear in a certain step. However it is possible that some cues can change their place, for example JAMMIN’ has often the role of ideation in a Service Design Thinking project. For a new project or assignment there are three intro points that make a good start for a collaboration.
A: Creativity – the organization is in need for new diverse ideas.
B: Service Design – the organization is in need for relevant ideas.
C: Organization – the organization is in need for a new purpose or position.
So the ideal situation is to focus on the challenge space first and then on the solution space. However most organizations see their problems in the solution space, or have not the awareness that their real problems are in the challenge space. The most important thing is to start on the now and get into the loop to create awareness for the long now when there is time to see the big picture.
The Music Thinking Dynamics
I thought about how the steps above would behave in different music styles. I call this dynamics; it means that the same steps behave different when played in a different style.
In classical music there are clear steps where mostly one composer is developing his idea from the many possibilities until he gets to PLAY with the first rehearsals and may fine-tune the piece until performed. This follows the steps you see below. One step further would be a pop production where in the studio the different steps overlap and LISTEN, TUNE, PLAY, PERFORM are more or less happening at the same time. The producer or – in a live situation the DJ – is getting more influence and the focus is on the REMIX, but the genre is clearly set (SCORE) and the material is thoroughly chosen before (TUNE).
In a typical rock band like U2, you would find a lot of PLAY. The steps LISTEN and TUNE are developed over the years and are clear to all the members, so the main point is on collaborating in the PLAY that overlaps with PERFORM.
In Jazz or even more in Free Jazz we talk about instant composing. LISTEN, TUNE, PLAY, PERFORM are done live on the stage at the same time, based on quick mutual understanding, deep listening and experience from playing with many different people and constellations (between duo and tentet).
The ideal picture of the four steps has its dynamics in the real world. Most companies are not used to separate the challenge from the solution space, with the effect that there is a fuzzy challenge and many ideas on how to solve it, until there is the realization that they are very effectively solving the wrong problems. It is like working effectively with a scrum team in time and budget, but not solving the problem of a real client.
In essence they are organized like a Free Jazz Band without the understanding and experience and try to make changes like an orchestra conductor or DJ.
As a Creative Companion or Music Thinker it is essential to understand in what constellation the organization is playing. You have to listen deeply and start with the right cue to help the organization to make the steps from iteration to innovation and transformation.
The Music Thinking Instruments
Actually this is a collection of tools, methodologies and canvases I am using and recommending. But there are many more. With the exception of the Company Real Score and the Persona Core Poster these tools have been developed by smart minds like Simon Sinek, Otto Scharmer, Alex Osterwalder or Tim Brown. What I have done here is to collect and cluster them to the Music Thinking Cues in the way I think they are helpful.
* Most of the instruments can be used to ‘create choices’ (diverge) and to ‘make choices’ (converge). ** This is a selection of typical instruments, but there are many more.
A Mentality in meaningful collaboration
For me Music Thinking gives an extra dimension to other approaches and methodologies and can be easily combined.
“Music Thinking is the quest for the ultimate remix of Empathy & Strategy, Innovation & Tradition, Plan & Performance, Thoughtfulness & Playfulness, Inspiration & Transpiration, Business & the Arts. But first of all it is a mentality in meaningful collaboration.”
Some older articles on Music Thinking on this blog
or see MusicThinking.com for more inspiration
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:
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.
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.
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.
Nijmegen, 6th of January 2016
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.
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 on page 29:
I work like a jazz musician: great music comes from great collaboration! Christof Zürn
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.
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!