December 21, 2012

Bach: the Design Thinker

Bach music

As a teenager I loved playing Bach on the piano, an instrument that for most of my playing time I was maybe less than loving about. It was all about first of all learning the rudiments, then adding in what you felt about it, then bringing the parts together into a whole that always felt greater than the sum of those elements I'd practiced in bar-by-bar, note-by-note detail. Today, I still play music - percussion - and it's the same process, I guess, that I describe in Bach: learn the rudiments well, pull them together bit by bit, then unleash the whole to see what it sounds like together with the band.

This process is not dissimilar to design thinking, the way of structuring one's thinking so as not to miss out on a potentially epic idea or solution to a problem that we've been harnessing across the schools with whom we work. Rebecca Cochran has taken Bach's music and composing style to reveal how in composing these he, too, was following many of the design thinking processes and habits of mind. In her blog post she explains each one in greater detail:

  • Bach combined the analytical with the intuitive.
  • Bach employed iterative prototyping.
  • Bach took inspiration from a broad range of experiences and cultures.
  • Bach co-created with others.
  • Bach regularly embraced constraint as a source of creativity.
  • Bach wrote music for the people. 

Hat tip on this, I think, is Tom. Pic from Magnuscanis.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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