Tag Archives: design thinking

A tactile approach to Service Design Thinking – Design Thinking & Lego Serious Play

Service Design Thinking is an approach to problem-solving that allows individuals to rapidly identify challenges and then go big on ideas before picking one or two to ideate, test and evaluate. 
Principles are:
  • Holistic – seeing the big picture in relation to details
  • Empathy – human-centered focus on real needs
  • Co-creation- iterative approach with stakeholders involved
At the intersection are ideas that last, ideas that are surprising, ideas that work. Before moving into the solution space of the Design Thinking process we heavily rely on words: spoken or written.  But words have two inherent limitations.
  1. Firstly most of us filter what we say, only articulating things that will make us sound smart, intelligent and well educated.
  2. Secondly, the part of most necessary for Design Thinking to work, the Limbic System where passion, music, creativity, and love sit – does not have any language capabilities. In other words, it’s almost impossible to articulate love, music, feelings and conceptual ideas.
One of the challenges in Design Thinking is to visualize all the words people use and make them meaningful for everyone involved. We use a set of tools, canvases, visual techniques and a lot of different materials to play with possible solutions and tinker with a prototype. One of the materials we use in prototyping is Lego.
Design-Thinking-Lego-Serious-Play 2

Service Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play

But there is more to Lego than just playing. Lego Serious Play, the methodology created by LEGO over ten years ago, is an approach that allows teams to find creative solutions to open-ended challenges. The real strength of Lego Serious Play is that we don’t use words, we use ‘art’ and creativity to express something – in this case Lego. It allows for more complex and creative concepts and ideas to be modeled.
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Building models with Lego Serious Play

Together with Ben Wickham we thought about how we could combine the strength of Design Thinking and Lego (Serious) Play to design ‘a tactile and playful approach to Service Design Thinking’.
We are going to crash these two concepts together: taking Design Thinking as the roadmap and Lego (Serious) Play as the way we execute. The result is a tactile approach to Design Thinking, for those groups and challenges that require a more intensive and deeper approach.
On the 28th & 29th March, at the Design Thinking Centre in Amsterdam, Ben Wickham & myself will lead a two-day workshop to help you get to grips with the basics of both approaches and their collaborative power. To help us, we have identified a global challenge to address: that of urbanization. If we can fix that – we can fix anything…
We would love to see you.
Click here to book, or if you have any questions, drop Ben or me a line.
See you end of March.
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Experience the experience or experience documenting

How can we facilitate concertgoers to ‘experience the experience’ instead of trying to ‘document an experience’ they did not really experience.

Jack White has issued a statement through venues proclaiming that cell phones will be banned at all of his upcoming US shows in 2018:

“No photos, video or audio recording devices allowed,” the statement bluntly reads. “We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON.”

Here is how it works: nobody has to hand in their phones but they’ll have to be locked away in a special pouch while in the venue.

“You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.”

So you can still check in with your babysitter or send off that completely brilliant tweet before you forget it 😉

The pouches and phone zones are from Yondr a service that creates phone-free spaces for artists, educators, organizations, and individuals.

 

How-Yondr-works

Picture from: www.yondr.com

 

 

 

 

This is Service Design Doing – best book for service design – design thinking

After 1 1/2 years of waiting for the sequel to the This is Service Design Thinking, the new book is here: This is Service Design Doing, endorsed by Philip Kotler, Birgit Mager, B. Joseph Pine II, wow!

4 editors, 12 chapters, 33 cases, 96 co-authors, 105 expert tips, 205 contributors and now 54 free method descriptions online. This must be the best book of Service Design Thinking available. Disclaimer: I am a co-author 🙂

TiSDD

 

And here are my “15 square centimeters” of fame …

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This is the Music Thinking Quote!

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My original quote is: “Scoping your project is essential, scoping your thinking is fatal” Christof Zürn

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Nice people!

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Four pictures of the Design Thinking Center.

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It comes with a massive free download of methods.

 

 

Design in Technology

Design in Technology is the ‘leitmotiv’ of John Maeda. Here are the slideshares of the last Design in Tech reports and a few books he has published. A great read for designers, business people and the curious digital mind.

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

2006

Here to the website of The Laws of simplicity

John Maeda

For people who have absolutely no time to read a book (also if it is only 100 pages), here is a Mindmap with the essence of the book:
LawsofSimplicityJohnMaeda

 

2004

Creative Code was the first book I have read about generative design. This was even before processing.org was invented/developed.

John Maeda code

 

I invite you to listen – Music Thinking in Service Design

This year the Design Thinking Conference in Amsterdam was held for the first time. With the theme of the conference – EMPATHY – THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES the organizers were aiming ‘to shake you up and enrich you with new insights, not just leave you comfortable and confirmed in your beliefs. No briefing to the converted, but experimenting, experiencing, having fun and being surprised.

In this regard I was doing one of the breakout sessions with the title:

I invite you to listen

“How can you have empathy with someone you don’t like or don’t understand. That is maybe the most difficult way of having empathy. One way to do this is to close your eyes and listen deeply to what they say. I invite you to listen, to a stranger, to the concept of music thinking and to everything that is around you.”

The Music in You
We started with a short exercise I call: ‘the music in you‘, this is to get to know each other, but also to see if we have a diverse group or not. So with sharing our favourite music and our least favourite music, we gave the stage to every participant to share one by one why they love the music they love.  The other participants were deep listening and empathising with that person, the music or both.  I have done this in many sessions and it is a great way to share things others may not know or like.

John Cage 4’33”
The next part was the introduction of the composer John Cage and his famous piece 4’33’’ from 1952; 4 minutes and 33 seconds of tacit (not playing) in three movements. I explained his quest for the total silence and the disappointment that there is not such a thing. We then did a rehearsal and experienced the piece from a performers point of view.

The Music Thinking Framework
As a third part of the one hour workshop I gave a very short explanation of the music thinking framework and especially two of the six the cues EMPATHY and SCORE which connected the theme of the conference and the score to the silent piece. Feel free to read my other post about the Music Thinking Framework.

I invite you to listen II

Performing John Cage 4’33”
After the lunch break we performed Cage 4’33’’ in front of the complete conference audience of approximately 100 people without telling them what Cage 4’33’’ is all about. What happend the more than 100 attendants of the conference were listening for 4 minutes and 33 seconds to a tacit performed by the Music Thinking Workshop Band. What they heard was not silence, they heard a musical piece, that was composed through their ability to listen what is in the presence.
Please click on the picture below to hear the recording of this memorable moment.

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I conducted the piece like written in the score and giving a cue for every movement. What happened is that some of the people misread my last cue and thought the piece was over and started clapping, a nice moment and beautiful sound appeared that quickly faded away and gave the piece an extra tension.

There was no announcement before or after the piece explaining what we did or what the context is. So 4’33” was treated like a ‘normal’ musical piece. Like if you had a short musical intermission by, lets say a small piece from Bach, or a singer songwriter piece, you also would not explain what the piece exactly is about, you were just listening and enjoying.

I recorded the piece with my iPad and uploaded it directly on the John Cage platform. Here is the audio recording and a picture of participants including philosopher André Klukhuhn, who joined us in the workshop (he told me he once also conducted the piece ). We talked about the link between 4’33’ and what he called the ‘god shaped hole’.

Before-the performance.jpg

Right before the performance

During the performance

Performing John Cage 4’33”

thanks to all the participant & the performers of the ‘Music Thinking Workshop band’ you made this a memorable moment!

Christof Zürn, Creative Companion

 

Note: The next Design Thinking Conference will be held in Amsterdam on 11th and 12th of October 2018

The Music Thinking Framework for iteration, innovation and transformation

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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:

  • organizations are in need of solutions for challenges they don’t know yet
  • management is often focussing on ‘the one’ solution for their complex problems
  • organizations are organized and focused in silos and lack interfacing expertise to connect the dots
  • people often don’t understand the impact of their decisions on the whole
  • people are busy to develop an ‘end state’, instead of changing their mindset to an iterative approach to change
  • sometimes people use musical terms when talking about action and collaboration, like: ‘let’s have a jam session about this’, ‘we should orchestrate this idea’, ‘we need a great conductor to lead the organization’, …

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

music-thinking-framework-steps-dynamics

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:

  1. JAMMIN’ the cue to get more creativity, more (crazy) ideas and information, data from all kinds of sources.
  2. EMPATHY the cue to see with the eyes of your customer, empathize with them and search for insights that matter.
  3. PERSONALITY the cue to work from the heart of your organization; from your why and your brand values to the holding space you provide for your stakeholders.
  4. SCORE the cue to visualize your decisions in the way that everyone has a ‘lead sheet’ of how we operate.
  5. AGILITY the cue to decide how to work together in which constellations.
  6. REMIX the cue to getting it all together under the given circumstances based on the other cues.

music-thinking-framework-cues

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).

music-thinking-dynamics

 

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.

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A Mentality in meaningful collaboration

For me Music Thinking gives an extra dimension to other approaches and methodologies and can be easily combined.

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“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.”  

Christof Zürn

 

Download

 

Some older articles on Music Thinking on this blog

or see MusicThinking.com for more inspiration

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  on page 29:

CREATIVE COMPANION - Discover Benelux - Best of Dutch Design

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

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).