Tag Archives: Creative Companion

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!

 

Oh what a year – Thank you 2014!

thankYou2014!

This was a year with many faces and to summarize these 12 months in one sentence would be something like this: a Year of Empathy, Collaboration, Music Thinking and Brand Development from a Service Design point of view.

For the fashion brand Olsen in Hamburg (Germany) I developed and designed the reality persona’s, based on research in Canada and Germany. We also worked with my brand strategy framework The Company Real Score to map the most essential brand assets as input for the brand deck.

The Übersee-Museum in Bremen (Germany) asked me to do a persona workshop with information on a one year visitors research to make strategic decisions.

Together with Design Thinkers Academy I developed a one day course of Service Design Thinking Fundamentals, a crash course with the basic instruments like stakeholder mapping, value network mapping, persona and customer journey. The next course will be in march 2015.

A sonic branding project: Massive Music in Amsterdam (Netherlands) asked me to help the team with my expertise in musicology and brand strategy. A nice combination of skills.

But there were more music and brand related activities: this year I started in Nijmegen (Netherlands) with a 20×20 (pecha kucha) presentation about Music Thinking and the platform MusicThinking.com, followed by a presentation in Cologne (Germany) about the same subject.
Together with Lutz Hempel from ICG, I did a short Music Thinking exercise during the ICG Change Management Seminar in Düsseldorf (Germany) and a full Music Thinking / Jazz it! workshop presentation in Copenhagen (Denmark) during the Art of Management in Organization conference.

For Bovemij I did the keynote presentation on their connect event in Utrecht. I showed the development of the last 30 years in the music business and how this connects with the challenges of the world we are living in today. The event was organized by my network partner Gerard Scheenstra of Innovatie Vitamine.

With my friend and network partner from the Witten School of Management Stefan Günther I did a workshop based on agile project management for Heraeus in Hanau (Germany); we also advised the board in taking steps towards a scrum framework. For Simon Weber and Friends, Berlin (Germany) I facilitated the alumni meeting with 150 people in Berlin with 10 iPads for the workshop presentations and created the Systemiker-Map  to visualize the region they work and their expertise.

The Efteling – the Dutch love brand number one – asked me to help them translate their massive research activities in a decision making instrument for a better way of collaboration between marketing and design. We worked with reality personas based on a big amount of research data and also worked with the design team on aspirational personas to strengthen the brand perspective in daily decisions. I did the design of the reality personas and all workshops and work sessions with the creative team and strategic marketing.

For De Rechtspraak in Utrecht (the Dutch Judiciary / Council for the Judiciary) I worked as UX Lead on a quality and innovation project about digital accessibility with a user-centered design approach to let different parties work together in building a user interface with a great user experience. Here are some steps we took: defining ux principles, persona development, customer journey mapping, facilitating creatives and management, usability testing.

Thanks a lot to everyone who made this year a fantastic and pleasurable time. I enjoyed to work with you together and I am looking forward to a very nice next encounter.

10 more Quotes from the Big World of Music for the Rest of the World – Music Thinking Quotes Vol. 2

This is volume 2 of Music Thinking Quotes.

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. (still has to come 😉

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

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

Empathy poster for focus group, interview and research

Inspired by the d.school’s empathy map I designed a poster that can be used in focus group meetings or any other research or interview situation.

While asking questions and observing behaviour like body language, tone of voice or choice of words it is important to note everything that  occurs in the session. In a second step, or during the session you will encounter contradictions (maybe already in saying), between what people say and what they do. Any contradiction or paradox can lead to a (latent) need or desire. If you ask yourself (or the participant) ‘why the things are as they are’ you may come to remarkable realizations or even an epiphany. This will be your most valuable insights.

Empathy Poster by CREATIVE COMPANION

Empathy Poster by CREATIVE COMPANION

Download the PDF version of the  Empathy-Poster by CREATIVE COMPANION.
You can print the poster in A4, A3 up to A2 and use it in different situations and workshop or research settings.

More posters:

The Persona Core Poster 

If you have collected a lot of insights you may want to go a step further an build personas for your company or project. There is another nice poster for this:

The Persona Core Poster by CREATIVE COMPANION

 

The Company Real Score Framework – Die Firmenpartitur

If you want to map your whole brand input and compare it with the reality persona you could also use The Company Real Score a strategic framework for brand innovation. You can also download the original poster.
Deutsch: Die Firmenpartitur (www.firmenpartitur.de)
English: The Company Real Score

Have fun!

PS: yes you can use the posters free of charge and yes I would be happy if you give me some feedback, credits or just spread the word!
Christof

www.creative-companion.com
www.creative-companion.com/deutsch/

 

A Music Thinking Week

Last week was a week full of Music Thinking for me.

A new microsite about Music Thinking was launched, I had the pleasure to do a 20×20 (formerly known as pecha kucha) presentation in Nijmegen (The Netherlands) about My Inspirations and Music Thinking and a presentation about the Company Real Score  / Die Firmenpartitur  the strategy-framework  for business innovation with a music thinking approach two days later in Cologne (Germany). Looks like there is some kind of momentum for strategic inspirations from the big world of music.

Christof Zürn talking about Music Thinking

Christof Zürn talking about Music Thinking at Nijmegen NOP 20×20

My intentions were:

  • to make people aware that there are many interesting findings behind the obvious side of music and that there are rich patterns of inspiration that can be used for business or private use
  • to encourage people to use the hashtag #musicthinking for tweets they find interesting in the context of music thinking
  • to find partners, clients, ‘co-thinkers’ and evangelists
  • to promote my framework for ‘brand minded & people centered strategy’ called The Company Real Score or in German Die Firmenpartitur

Here are the slides of the 20×20 to give you an impression of my ‘6 Minutes and 40 Seconds of fame’, unfortunately there is no footage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are interested in Music Thinking please go to the microsite and drop me a note. I would also be happy to talk about Music Thinking on a seminar, conference or to use it in a strategy session or project.

cheers
Christof

The Company Real Score a music thinking approach to business innovation

The Company Real Score – a music thinking approach to business innovation

I am working with many tools and methods. There are some I like more. Now I have compiled the, in my opinion, most important tools and instruments to start with for brand minded & people centered innovations, I call it ‘The Company Real Score’, have a look!

What is it?
The company real score is a collection of business tools and instruments to map and visualize your brand. It is a collection of core elements for orchestrating and conducting ‘brand minded & people centered’ innovations.

Why should you use it?
1. To visualize and communicate what is most important for your brand.
2. To identify strategic paradoxes that can be used in innovation projects.
3. To use it as a ‘brand minded & people centered’ starting point.

See a short presentation

 

You can download the original score – 2,50 meters – via this link: http://goo.gl/IkwkTM

Complexity meets simplicity – the executive app by nibesvv

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Today I had the pleasure to be at the launch of a new iPad app from my client NIBE-SVV the  knowledge institute and publisher for the Dutch banking, insurance and investment industry.

The executive app is a unique personalized app for top executives, decision makers and internal supervisors in the dutch financial world. The app is a mix of an e-learning tool, up-to-date information service and expert contact center. You can book events, make knowledge tests and prepare notes  for a meeting.

All the complexity of the ‘modern financial world’ is organized in a simple but appealing designed interface with the focus on  information needs and behaviour patterns of a time short executive.

the executive app (screenshot0

The Executive App by NIBE-SVV Executive Academy (screenshot)

MORE INFORMATION
View a PDF with short description and availability (dutch)
more information can be found on: www.the-executive-app.nl

CREATIVE COMPANION
Acting as ‘human interface’ between company and agencies I worked as creative companion for strategy, design and development. Coaching in a start-up situation, mobile agency selection, concepting and co-creation on learning model, interaction design and visual design.

–Christof Zürn

Brand Patterns and Leitmotives – Music Thinking Inspirations for Branding and Design

When designing a brand it is necessary to have a shared understanding about the why, what and how of a brand. This can be written down and visualized in a manifesto together with the brand DNA, vision, mission, ambition and the brand values, personality, promis and expressions. But this is just like the musical score. To really ‘live the brand’ it has to be performed and adapted everyday together with  your audience.

Music Thinking:
Here are two musical concepts that could inspire and engage brand professionals to think about the brand consumer relation to add value to both sides: first to the consumer, then it will pay back to the brand.

Pattern

Marc Shillum is approaching the filed of branding from a pattern thinking perspective:  Brand as Patterns. He states the most important feature of a successful brand is not just consistency, but rather the ability to continually reinvent the brand image according to what is most relevant at the time. In short, a successful brand must have a long term goal, but the short term strategy of how to get there must be continually reworked to remain coherent and relevant in a contemporary context.

Besides patterns there are more concepts that can bring context and meaning. In the Wagner Year it is worth to have a look on the contextual building blocks Wagner is using in his compositions: ‘das Leitmotiv’.

Leitmotiv

Leitmotives are musical phrases like story elements that does not imitate the sound of – for example – ‘crackling logs’, but make you feel the heat, thread and magic of fire. If you want to enjoy the music you don’t have to necessarily know everything about it, but ‘the more you know, the more beautiful it gets’.

Watch a great ‘musical introduction’ to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung with Kurt Masur and Jessy Norman and learn everything about the coding and decoding with Leitmotivs in film music like star wars and Wagner’s music.

From a branding point of view many different elements should make a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ so that the consumer can enjoy, be engaged and get an emotional bond with the brand without knowing exactly every detail.

But to create a brand it takes a lot of listening skills and contextual vision. Maybe the most importing thing: the music is not ready when the score is written. It has to be performed with real people for real people – again and again.

‘There is joy in repetition’ Prince