Another report from the Guiding Lights Weekend:
Since music has become all-pervasive in our culture, in many ways it has moved into the background. It comes out of walls and sidewalks as we walk down city streets, iPods, cell phones, car stereos and even elevators. Since we are surrounded by music in so many ways, fewer people take time to make music themselves.
Hyperscore is music composition software that re-imagines what is required to compose original music. It provides instant access to playing creatively within a highly structured medium. The fundamentals of melody, harmony, rhythm, key changes and timing are click-and drag simple. Instead of notes on a staff, there is a palette where you can paint instruments into a melody and drum beats into a rhythm. The harmony palette then provides a place to arrange your melodies and rhythms into a composition. Drag a melody up to hear it walk up the scale as it plays. Drag the harmony line down to change keys at a particular point in the piece.
It takes less than 5 minutes to learn and then you’re off and running with the potential to create everything from simple riffs to full-length symphonies. When you’re finished, you can output your composition in standard musical notation so it can be played by other musicians. In fact, MIT has partnered with school systems to create programs where children compose original music that is later played by a symphony orchestra.
Besides the fact that Hyperscore is tremendously fun to play with, I am impressed with how Machover and his team focused on engaging creativity rather than learning the details of the craft. To accomplish this feat, they use technology to hide the complexity of the traditional composition medium while bringing its fundamental forms to the surface. This is a fantastic design challenge. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if more technologists took this approach to design?
What if organizations and teams applied the same concepts to their design challenges – including products, processes and projects? How would that work?
They might start by asking questions like these:
- What do our users/customers/stakeholders care about? What excites and inspires them?
- What are the minimum conditions that will maximize creative engagement?
- How can the results of creativity be shared easily and broadly?
- What are the fundamental forms of the product / process / medium we’re working with?
- What happens when we remove everything that’s non-essential?
What other questions do you think would be valuable?
Accessing creativity in a person is accessing an energy that goes deep into their being. It’s a way to touch the spark or life force that drives action and innovation. From that place we are willing to learn whatever we need to learn, to do whatever needs to be done. The learning and doing become fuel that drives our creativity. Fill ‘er up!
(One way to learn more about engaging creativity in organizations is to attend the Nexus for Change conference in March.)
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