The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

"Exploring Creativity and Collaboration: A Journey through Music Thinking and Jam Cards with Christof Zürn"

John Carter
February 20, 2024
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"Exploring Creativity and Collaboration: A Journey through Music Thinking and Jam Cards with Christof Zürn"

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Welcome back to the show to our old friend Christof Zürn. I actually had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful human being in person in Amsterdam earlier this month. Christof appeared on the podcast a number of years ago but since then has produced his book "The Power of Music Thinking”, published by BIS Publishers.

In this episode, we speak more about the Jam Cards, which I'll link below. It’s an interactive and meaningful way to collaborate more effectively with yourself or with teams. We demo these Jam Cards in the episode, so you can listen to it or follow along on YouTube.

Christof is absolutely awesome and I’m excited to share this one with you.

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:05] Gerry: But listen, Christof, it's great to have you back in the podcast. for our listeners, we interviewed Christof,probably a year, maybe a year and a half ago, I don't know when it was, and at that time we were talking about music thinking and you were in the, the depths of recording. This isn't an overlay folks, that there is actually the book if you're watching on YouTube.

[00:00:48] it's The Power of Music Thinking, which was published on BIS Publishers, I think, wasn't it?

[00:00:53] Christof Zurn: yeah. Right.

[00:00:54] Gerry: they sent me this. it's a beautiful, beautiful book. They did a really great job in the, in the production of it. It sits really nicely on my shelf behind me here. and, we're going to be talking a little bit more around that.

[00:01:10] But also I want to talk, probably a little bit more in focus around this one here, around the Jam cards. Now I've got a series of cards in my, I've got a couple of decks in my, in my workshop kit. But, Maybe we'll just kick off and we'll start asking questions around that in a minute. But first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, Christof, where you're from and what, what you do.

[00:01:36] Christof Zurn: Wow. Thank you, Gerry. yeah. Where to start? Christof, Christof Zurn. I'm a freelancer since 13 years on service design and design thinking before I was creative director or chief design officer in organizations, in the Netherlands, I have to say I'm originally from Germany. So I'm speaking Dutch, English, and German, and sometimes all the three in one sentence, so.

[00:02:05] Gerry: Like me.

[00:02:07] Christof Zurn: And, yeah, my, my focus is on one way on creativity, or I have to say on co creativity. So how can people work together? That's something that's really interested me very long. And being a musician and a musicologist. So I started musicology in the nineties, or in the eighties and nineties, so knowing everything about music and later went into digital, productions like CDROMs and online stuff.

[00:02:35] had the, had the chance to interview the most famous people in classical music and jazz. And at the very end, I came up with something that I thought, hmm. When people talk about music or they, or when people work together, they always use musical terms like let's jam about this or pull all the plucks and all this stuff.

[00:02:57] Gerry: As I said, we don't miss a beat.

[00:02:58] Christof Zurn: write or don't miss a beat. So I came up with that idea to collect all my thinking and primarily it's like on co creation. Let's call it service design and organizational change. So meaning, how can people be creative? How, the use of it? So who, who, who shall use it or who shall benefit it?

[00:03:20] And how do we have to reorganize ourselves to do it?

[00:03:26] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:03:26] Christof Zurn: this is actually in the, in the, in the core of, of music thinking. And the first thing, I started was the framework, what I called the first, the music thinking framework. Nowadays, I call it, call it the dynamic strategies framework. And that was really the start.

[00:03:46] So this was for me, okay, well, I'm also a designer.

[00:03:48] Gerry: in this.

[00:03:49] Christof Zurn: Let's make it graphical and let's see how, how this works.

[00:03:53] Gerry: this is GEPSAR, isn't it? But you, like, I'm trying to come up with a nice acronym for, JAM and Empathy, Personality, Score, Agility, and Remix.

[00:04:03] Christof Zurn: right.

[00:04:05] Gerry: I should give a big shout out to Mark Stickdorn, who connected myself and Christof a couple of years ago. and I remember on the first podcast, I was meant to be going to Hungary to do a talk at DOORS Conference.

[00:04:17] This is just pre pandemic, and Mark was going to be there as well. And, he was like, what are you going to do your, your keynote on? I said, I'm actually going to do it on how I see music and design being the same thing. And he was like, you know somebody else is talking about that, don't you? And I was like, yeah, yeah, who?

[00:04:36] And he's like, his name is Christof Sirr, and you should definitely call him and have a conversation, because you're talking about the same stuff, and he's been talking about it for a while. And that's kind of how this, this you know, initially guessed relationship and now, now our friendship blossomed from that all kind of introduction to it.

[00:04:55] It's all done thanks to Mark. We also share things to each other on WhatsApp whenever we find interesting sounds or guitar pedals or 

[00:05:06] Christof Zurn: yes. 

[00:05:07] Gerry: just devices that kind of go, wow, what's going on there? where does this come from? You mentioned way back that you, you were, you play music. So, how long have you been playing music?

[00:05:23] Christof Zurn: Hmm. I don't know. Maybe when I was 11, when I was 11, I had my first guitar lesson and it

[00:05:29] Gerry: took up guitar. And what

[00:05:33] Christof Zurn: it was my first and my last. So I went there in school with my guitar and there was a teacher telling everybody to that these guys on television with the long hairs that this is not music and then I thought, okay, thank you.

[00:05:45] So that I don't have to be here.

[00:05:49] Gerry: Did you self learn then? You learned

[00:05:52] Christof Zurn: learned everything with, with, and the same goes for. All the digital tools I'm using, so I never went to school. What we, what I started doing, you couldn't learn at the university and music. I just learned from all the instruments from doing. And then later I'm, I'm, I went to, let's say masterclasses or you, you get lessons much later, but then I already knew how the

[00:06:18] Gerry: Your habits are formed. I want to ask you something about that. Because I've done a lot of deep thinking on that whole kind of mindset. I was around the same age when I started learning. I learned piano from the age of five. And it was through structured learning. So, I went to lessons. Hated it. Hated it, being sat there with a, a stick, kind of like tapping your fingers when you were hitting the wrong notes and stuff, versus learning and getting a guitar 13 and figuring it out myself.

[00:06:53] Two different approaches, two different kind of, frameworks, I guess, for learning. But the one that I'm still doing to this day is playing the guitar. What do you think it is about music at a young age where you, you kind of have to foster the, the skill yourself? What are the benefits in that? Like, you know, what did you learn as a child, self teaching yourself an instrument?

[00:07:25] Christof Zurn: you know, the first thing might be just listen, because before you can play something, you have to listen to how it should sound. And then the second part comes, listen again, because then you have to listen to how it sounds when you make. That kind of sound. And the third one is if you record it and then listen again from a distance, then you can learn, Oh, that's how it really sounds.

[00:07:52] So not just holding your, your instrument. And I think these three times listening is a very

[00:07:57] Gerry: the listening was a really good one. But it's also the, the repeated failure. You know, like you're, you're trying and trying and trying and that whole kind of resilience that I think a lot of people kind of glaze over when you're learning an instrument. Like that's a really steep learning curve and I see a lot of similarities between people getting into design and people as innovators or change makers.

[00:08:25] It's not a, a simple case of picking up an instrument, looking at YouTube videos, and then getting on stage. It's a long road, and I think a lot of the, the sort of the resilience that's fostered from learning instruments, you can carry that forward into lots of other stuff. So you mentioned there about learning Dutch, if you speak German, speak English, how do they all come about?

[00:08:53] I wonder was it the same sort of resilience that was fostered around that time as well?

[00:08:59] Christof Zurn: you know, my, my grandmother, she went in the, in the 1920s, before she married my grandfather, she wanted to, yeah, get them, make their own experiences and earn their own money. And she went to Indianapolis. So from a little village in Germany, she just went there and worked as a maid, I think for two years. And she was the one, when we went to bed, she sang us songs. And I often tell the same story, it's like, as kids, which you just. hear what you know. And by the way, if you're older, you also hear what you know. So she was singing us a song. I don't know, some kind of gospel like, I'm coming. And we thought, oh, it's incoming, meaning it's a chimney, a chimney.

[00:09:55] So we had something different in our brain.

[00:09:58] Gerry: your heads,

[00:09:59] Christof Zurn: And, and from time to time, and my grandmother, she was also the, let's say, the spiritual, 

[00:10:06] Gerry: spirit guide.

[00:10:08] Christof Zurn: in, in the, in the family. so there was talks, and so you could learn a lot from her. So that was, let's say, an easy, and it didn't feel like learning, it just felt like.

[00:10:18] Like doing something. So there are many different things came together. And I'm from a very small village. Like at that time it was 2000 inhabitants and now it might be eight. So it's, it's a still small village. And, and there was also a lot of sounds outside like the birds and the nature. And my parents had a joinery.

[00:10:44] And I love the sounds of wood, of woodworking and all these long drones of, of these machines. And that was really something that, yeah, I would say that's my, was my first soundscape in, in listening everything that's around us. And as an analogy, that's, yeah, literally I'm using now. Again, that before I go to, to a client that just say, okay, just try to first listen and see what's already there before we create something new.

[00:11:15] Gerry: Yeah, I mean, the whole kind of playfulness is what I'm hearing is coming through on that. And like, I know you at this stage, and I know that you're not the sort of person who's you know, going to trivialize the importance of play because it's part of the I guess the mindset of most musicians I know, whenever we, we play together, it's, it's not a case of like, we start at one o'clock and we all have to be sitting down on our chairs.

[00:11:45] It's much more about a social connection, about figuring out together. And that's, that's sort of how I see design. in a sense that, like, you build your best team that you possibly have and you're in it together and something is going to happen, either a gig or recording or something is on the horizon and you need to work together to get to that point.

[00:12:10] It's not one person is going to, you know, make the recording or one person is going to make the gig even better than it was. It's, it is about the sum of all your parts. But what about the playfulness side of things when you were developing jam cards? there must have been times where you felt like you were going around in circles, because you were on your own doing this, so you weren't really part of a band in that sense.

[00:12:35] How did you handle that?

[00:12:37] Christof Zurn: Yes. I must say I had a duo partner, which is my, which is my daughter and, and she's also service designer now. So that's, I don't know how this came into life.

[00:12:50] Gerry: Now, I am struggling, folks, to see, your daughter's name mentioned anywhere on the book or the jam cards. So, we could have a potential legal case about to unfold for Christof. What's your daughter's name?

[00:13:05] Christof Zurn: Xenia with an X.

[00:13:08] Gerry: Ah, very cool. So, Xenia to help you create. Was this something you did at home or was this something that you fostered, on projects?

[00:13:20] Christof Zurn: You know, Xenia helped me with the production of it and with realizing it and really making it and asking questions where I thought, yeah, but that's not the problem. So it was more like, like a mirror. And by the way, I did with Xenia also, three times at the design thinkers conference, we did three times workshops and at the last one with the whole, with the whole, with the whole conference of 150 people.

[00:13:48] So

[00:13:49] Gerry: Yeah, I heard about

[00:13:49] Christof Zurn: also in the picture.

[00:13:51] Gerry: I heard about this. So, I've just opened up the, the card pack, okay? Now, the book is probably a little bit easier to explain. It is the kind of story and it's the method of the power of music thinking. But the jam cards kind of sits alongside this. Is this correct?

[00:14:11] Christof Zurn: Yeah. You know, the, the jam cards were first and we were second. So what I said, the framework was first. That's my thinking. That's also in the book. If you open the book, at the beginning, the, the music thinking framework or dynamic strategies, that's in the beginning. And it's also in the jam card. Right.

[00:14:29] Gerry: This piece

[00:14:29] Christof Zurn: And if you want to have a more detailed view, you can download it for free from the musicthinking. com

[00:14:35] Gerry: you go, have a look.

[00:14:37] Christof Zurn: So, so that's, that's the easy part. But then a lot of people said, Hey, that music thinking, that's interesting. Don't you want to write a book about it?

[00:14:46] Gerry: Yeah. Book.

[00:14:49] Christof Zurn: not a writer. I would rather.

[00:14:53] create something new so that people, you know, if the idea is co creation, so that people can do something with it instead of just reading it. And so I came up with, let's say, pictures that I collected over the years or, and, and different ideas, I came up with, with the, maybe that's good to mention these questions.

[00:15:18] So these trigger questions, the, that was the idea of Xenia that's, that's, that's her thing. So I thought, Oh, why do we, would you need this? And then later it get, get into it. So

[00:15:30] Gerry: mean, what is your style? Are you like pop or rock or R& B or

[00:15:35] Christof Zurn: yeah, for, yeah, no, it's like very open, but that's a very good question, Gerry, because when I use them, it's not about music. That's boring. it's about where people are, want to use it for. So I didn't make it for, for, for, so that you talk about music, but I give you an, a language that you can use and do the analogy with your, with your organization.

[00:16:02] So I've in, in, in the book, there's one, what's your song style service. That's a, one of the cards to try to To understand, okay, what, what are we doing? What is our song as a company and what then is our style? Could the style change or, and what, by the way, what's our service? Is this a record, a concert, a phone, whatever.

[00:16:23] So there's, that's later in the book, but with the cards, I just wanted to make small units that you could mix together. And as an extra, the, the Spotify codes.

[00:16:36] Gerry: Yeah, I did see this, like, so

[00:16:38] Christof Zurn: You can scan them right from the, from the screen as well. So if, if someone

[00:16:43] Gerry: watching this on YouTube, they can do that. So, let's look at it from a context. So you are somebody who is about to run a workshop, either for an organization, or you're in an organization and you're going to be running a workshop as part of, you know, a discovery of how to improve your service that you're delivering to people.

[00:17:05] They buy these cards Which, by the way, I got for free, folks. I'm not getting any money for this podcast, as a disclaimer, but I do love what Christof has done. Who owns these cards then, when you put them in the middle of the room? Does everyone, how do you see it working? Does the facilitator pick them up and then read them to, to the group, or do you form into groups?

[00:17:27] How do you see it operating?

[00:17:28] Christof Zurn: you, you know, the nicest thing is that I had some ideas what the cards are and there are 38 cards, I call them inspiration cards, and you just put them on the table. And, I learned that everyone who's using the card, using them in different ways, and I can tell you three stories in a few seconds about it.

[00:17:49] How I'm using them, I'm using them often in either at the beginning of a strategy workshop,

[00:17:57] Gerry: Okay.

[00:17:57] Christof Zurn: where people come in, they already have their idea and just want to drop their idea and let's do the workshop with it. And I do a detour with them, which I call serendipity lab.

[00:18:09] Gerry: Ah,

[00:18:09] Christof Zurn: them, bring your headphones and would be nice if you already have a Spotify on your, and you don't need a paid Spotify, just Spotify on your, on your phone.

[00:18:20] Gerry: microphone.

[00:18:21] Christof Zurn: Then I put all the stuff on the table and say, you know, 15 minutes. Take your phone, scan a card, look through the cards, and notice something, write down something that you notice, that's one. And at the end of the 15 minutes, just pick two, sometimes I also say pick one, and then I make duos. So, these people and what happens, and that's really what, that's really what I wanted, why I call it serendipity.

[00:18:53] It's like in the shower, what happens, people take this card, They scan that code, they hear it, but then they go to the other, to another card and read the backside of another card. So it mixes completely. So for me, it's not the thing that you just understand one card and I can tell you there's a logic in it, but that's not interesting that there's the logic.

[00:19:18] The interesting is what do you see and what you hear? And then people come, come with nice combinations that I've never intended, but they're there, but that are literally in the cards because of the different, of, of the different ways how they go together.

[00:19:36] Gerry: so I have got the activity card here. So I've got activity and I've just scanned the code and I get this. I'm probably gonna get screwed by iTunes for this.

[00:19:57] So it's Freddy, Freddy Freeloader by Miles Davis.

[00:20:02] Christof Zurn: Yeah. That's literally. So I don't tell. So, I think I'm, I mentioned, Spotify list of all the songs, but I never mentioned what the songs are. Because I think, okay, find out by yourself. Freddy Freeloader is one of the most, famous pieces from Miles Davis from his, Kind of Blue. But what you hear is the outtake.

[00:20:26] Gerry: okay,

[00:20:27] Christof Zurn: hear the last. So it's like from, it starts with talking in the studio, like, Hey, Miles, your microphone, what's this? Yeah, well, I'm playing. And, and so it's, it's not about the song. It's about something that could inspire you to think, oh, hey, I

[00:20:42] Gerry: on the back of that it says what action could you do without any planning? Do not fear mistakes, there are none by Miles, Miles Davis. So what, what would somebody do with that?

[00:20:55] Christof Zurn: I can tell you, every, let's say question or every card resonates differently with different people. So one joke, for example, this one is entrainment. And I can tell you, if you're not English, everybody's talking about entertainment. But I don't correct them. If they see entertainment in this card, who am I?

[00:21:20] But the idea behind is, and you might have noticed that picture.

[00:21:25] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:21:30] Christof Zurn: It's the most famous picture that's in the, in the Rijksmuseum. But I noticed that there is a drummer on the right downside. So it's the Rembrandt, the Night Watch. So what I also do is like, hey, There already is music, a drummer. So you talk about a big picture, but hang on, is there music in it? And if you develop, let's say a filter for it, and that's how I collected a lot of pictures.

[00:21:59] so I thought, Hmm, that entrainment, meaning the moment when one rhythm and the other rhythm get into one rhythm, and that's something that you can use in, in your team. Everybody is doing their best, but they're doing it out of sync. So the only thing would be, how can you sync them to make it stronger?

[00:22:22] Although both of them, if you analyze them, they would see, okay, but that's really good doing exactly this, doing exactly that. And then there's some, let's say some kind of latency in between and entrainment helps you. And that's why the question is. To what rhythm can you synchronize is on the backside

[00:22:40] Gerry: Okay. So the bit, like, the, I'm still not really connecting how I would use it in a, In workshop settings. I, I get the fact that the people would interpret it and the, the synchronicities and the connections and stuff. But if you're doing a strategic kinda workshop, how would it, how would they make sense out of all of this?

[00:23:03] So if everyone's going and they're interpreting in lots of different ways, how does it work in terms of the steps after this?

[00:23:11] Christof Zurn: now, you know what I just mentioned in the I just I described I think even in the oh, yeah, there's some how to play in the in the in the box Inside and then I'm talking about that, serendipity lab. So actually it's like, if you do it, like you start 15 minutes, everyone just pick a card one, two or three that you think is important for this session or for this strategy meeting.

[00:23:37] Gerry: Oh, okay. Yeah. So like an icebreaker?

[00:23:39] Christof Zurn: and, and there's only one card on the, one unique card on the table. So it's also sometimes a little bit of fight from, Oh no, I wanted that, Oh no. This is something that I want. So, and then you let them bring it together. That's, with the two of them and you get rid of two cards. And then I ask, to get together as a quartet.

[00:24:00] So it's solo duo quartet. And so that the four of them try to find out, is there something that we can take or is important, maybe in a positive or in a negative way, that we should, that we should use in this, in this strategy, workshop. And the funny thing is that the sound makes you, in one way, it connects with, with a certain card, but in another way, it's also some kind of, let's say, backdrop, or, or back.

[00:24:30] background music for another card. So you get new connections. And the funny thing is that people talk about, Oh, I like this. Oh, this is crazy. Oh my God, what is this? So they're totally, completely different, sounds.

[00:24:44] Gerry: I totally get how it could be used as like a workshop intro. So if you're trying to get to know or, unlock some sort of part, parts of the brain, like here's one here is what is good, but should be changed that can become a stimulus for anything, really, in terms of conversation starters. So you could go into into pairs on.

[00:25:06] use bigger card each, and then they stimulate conversations off the back of that. But the bit that I'm kind of want to know a little bit more around, Christof is, at the bottom here, you've got jamming, empathy, personality, score, agility, and remix. And there's certain ones that are black and certain ones that are

[00:25:23] Christof Zurn: Yeah.

[00:25:24] Gerry: So tell us what they mean.

[00:25:26] Christof Zurn: Yeah. So there are the link with the dynamic strategies framework of music thinking. And what I thought, and that's, yeah, that's on the card is when there are black, there's a link with in, I have entrainment here in my hand that links with jamming empathy, agility and remix and less with personality and score.

[00:25:47] So if you would say, okay, you would. Not take the card as a starting point, but the framework, and we'd say, let's do something more on jamming or on personality. You could sort the cards, all the personality cards, and see how they go together. So that's an extra play.

[00:26:06] Gerry: So using the design thinking kind of process. It's, there's obviously, empathy. Empathy! Empathy! That, that, there's that word, folks. Empathy is in there, okay? so, you can use them at certain stages depending on where you're at in the design process. So, it could be remix if you're fixing an existing service and you select all the remix cards and they become stimuluses, stimuli.

[00:26:36] I think is the proper, word, for conversation starters about unlocking pieces at that point. Is there a way to self identify where you're at? Because sometimes people don't really know where they're at in the stages. Any advice you have, for people on that one?

[00:26:56] Christof Zurn: you know, from the framework, I don't give an answer to, oh, no.

[00:27:00] Gerry: I love this.

[00:27:01] Christof Zurn: put it, let's put it the other way around. On one way, I give an answer, but on the other way, I don't. Meaning, if you see the framework, how it is, it's very clear that Remix is underperform. But if you see in the framework that this is very dynamic, and that when everything is happening at the same time, Then it's everything is crunched and turned around and then it feels more like jazz and less like classical music, meaning it feels more like everything happens on the same time we have to improvise we have to do and we are on stage and we're performing versus okay.

[00:27:37] Let's first think about it. How does it sound? I'm the composer. Now let's see how we bring it to life in, in what venue and in what way. And so the dynamics, but that's maybe something when we talk about the book, that's much more when, when this really comes, comes out to really find your, yeah, your dynamic where you're in at the

[00:27:58] Gerry: nice.

[00:27:59] Christof Zurn: but at the very end, just to give an answer.

[00:28:02] You can find, you really can say where you are and we want to work more on agility or more on score, but it's not as obvious as, let's say, another framework. And I would say that's on one side the downside, because it's not easy to use in the beginning. But on the other hand, easy framework never works when you put it to practice.

[00:28:24] Gerry: Absolutely.

[00:28:25] Christof Zurn: And that's where I tried, if you use the framework, I think you will see, oh, it's getting complicated. But it's, it's complicated. Oh yeah, I see it. So it's easier to, to, to, to use them in that way. That's my

[00:28:37] Gerry: yeah, I think to get started with it, I can see how it can be woven into the certain stages of the design process, as opposed to it becoming an underpinning framework, if that makes sense. I noticed at the back of the cards, you've got all of these pieces. These are like, are they for the top cards for each section of cards that sit underneath it?

[00:29:03] Yeah.

[00:29:03] Christof Zurn: No, what you also could do, you could start with the queues. Yeah.

[00:29:09] Gerry: Jammin I'd rather be jammin with Christof. Yeah.

[00:29:14] Christof Zurn: So.

[00:29:14] Gerry: the Q is all about creativity, ideas and information, listening and collecting data from all kinds of sources.

[00:29:21] Christof Zurn: So they're, they're the cues. They're the main center point. So you can actually, you can put the framework that I just mentioned, you can put everything on the table or on the floor and you can build the framework for yourself, starting with jam, with jamming, then going to empathy, personality, or hang on.

[00:29:39] No, no, no. Let's start first with personality and then do the jamming. So you can do it in the way you like you do and then maybe find cards that go together. And it will never work perfectly, meaning you have, you need a discussion. And again, it's not about solving a puzzle. It's about understanding as an analogy where you're in at the moment, giving you a language and also a visual language to share with someone else.

[00:30:05] Gerry: I like that. I really like that because say next week I've got a bunch of workshops in mainland Europe and stuff and I'm going to, I'm going to try some of these for the intro of this episode, which might be a little bit meta for people who are listening and watching at the same time. I recorded the podcast first and did the intro second.

[00:30:27] but I'll use some of this and weave my findings into the intro. because I see, I see a lot of value in some of these things. And, you know, when you get paid to do workshops for people and, People nearly want you to do some stuff that's a little bit, left field. I find anyway, they want to watch you do something.

[00:30:48] So I'll probably fail, but by the second time, I'll probably fail a little bit less. it's really, really cool. I love the fact that there's a Spotify link, on the cards as well. So like, it just creates a little bit of a two dimensional kind of experience, which I have not seen before. There's a lot of cards out there, a lot of card decks, but this is a little bit different QR.

[00:31:12] Christof Zurn: I think it even was the first product that these Spotify codes, and you have to open Spotify directly and don't use from your QR codes. It's directly into Spotify. And I had to ask headquarters there if it is allowed in that way, because I. I did a little tweak and I got it, but that's five years ago.

[00:31:34] They might do it now, but this first for me in the very beginning, the most important thing also to get rid of all the logistics, otherwise I would have by some, some rights to use the music. So people are using already what they have, a telephone,

[00:31:51] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:31:52] Christof Zurn: Spotify account. And they, and I just like it.

[00:31:55] Catalyst, I helped them to do something with them in a way that they haven't done before. And that's also something that people say, Oh, I didn't

[00:32:04] Gerry: You met them where they're at, pretty much. That's what we say in design. I have to say, I love these. I've played them before, many, many times. I cannot remember the name of the the instrument. If again, if you're listening to this episode in your headphones, folks, there is a link for you to go and watch this episode on YouTube, because it's a very visual episode.

[00:32:23] But what is that called?

[00:32:25] Christof Zurn: I don't know. I think it's like a, isn't it? Yeah,

[00:32:28] Gerry: My friend had one many years ago in the studio, and it's something from

[00:32:33] Christof Zurn: it's like a drum machine, you know, it's like, but a very, very simple one. And I used it in concerts. So all of the pictures are from me. There's a few. where I had to clear the rights, but this is one that I use together with didgeridoo and, and this thing is, let's say a drummer's machine that kids would use.

[00:32:56] So every, every picture also has a story. And some of them, I also share on the musicthinking. com website. So some of them like this one. This is from a concert

[00:33:07] Gerry: Oh, very good. Yeah, I saw that one there. Yeah, that's really nice.

[00:33:11] Christof Zurn: where I'm swimming with a soprano saxophone during a concert.

[00:33:14] Gerry: Is that you?

[00:33:15] Christof Zurn: Yeah, that's me.

[00:33:16] Gerry: You with hair.

[00:33:17] Christof Zurn: but, but that's why I don't write everything about it because I don't want to make it about me or this one I was in.

[00:33:24] Riga on the street and minutes ago I heard the sound of that tuba and when I saw that guy I really thought about what action could you do without any planning? So when you know an instrument or so, what can you do? To just do something or, and yeah, everyone has a total story. So,

[00:33:45] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:33:46] Christof Zurn: but maybe the last one, maybe just as a trick also for you or as a treat for your,

[00:33:52] Gerry: Audience?

[00:33:53] Christof Zurn: the tools card. That's the special card, because it's also in a different type. So you can compare it with the trust card. For example, you see for all peoples that like types, the trust card. is the Helvetica and the tools card is the only card that has a different font.

[00:34:18] Gerry: Why?

[00:34:19] Christof Zurn: Why? Because what I was looking for in music thinking, and that's also a red line through the podcast and the book, is that I'm looking for people that are doing something special and are musicians in some way.

[00:34:33] Gerry: Hmm.

[00:34:34] Christof Zurn: And there's a musician, and the answer is on the back side, it's Hans Reiche. He's also a luthier. And he was also, how do you call it, a font maker.

[00:34:46] Gerry: Ah.

[00:34:47] Christof Zurn: And he developed an instrument called the Daxophone.

[00:34:52] Gerry: Right.

[00:34:53] Christof Zurn: And if you scan it now, or hang on, I put it there for everyone. So if someone would scan it now from the video, you would hear how a Daxophone sounds.

[00:35:05] Gerry: Ah, very nice. Wow.

[00:35:08] Christof Zurn: and you can buy it online, is called the DAX, D A X. So everything comes together on this card, but the, the picture, the picture is I made when we did a concert in 1990 in Russia, in Krasnodar, and this was a fleet market, and I walked on the fleet market, and I saw this. This, yeah, how do you call it booth or this stand or it was everything. And I saw all these tools.

[00:35:41] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:35:42] Christof Zurn: And then I thought, hang on, Hey, hang on. What's this? On the top left corner, there's a pile of records.

[00:35:49] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:35:50] Christof Zurn: And that was really, I think it was, no, no, it was not the 1990s, it was 2010. Sorry. I was, the second time. And then I thought about it, hang on, music can also be used as a tool, but without the music itself.

[00:36:06] So it's, I'm not playing music, so to make you better, but I take something that's in the music to, to use as an analogy. and to work for business. So that, that picture actually was more or less the beginning of, and, and that's why it's in the card and it's the tools and the tools are connected with Hans Reichel.

[00:36:26] And if you scan the code, then you hear a real dexaphone. That's, amazing instrument. So it's only, it's, it's not digital in any way. It's like, it's like a piece of wood.

[00:36:39] Gerry: Mm.

[00:36:39] Christof Zurn: Played with a bow and there's something that you can move over it. That's the Dex and that changed the sound So it's really yeah, awesome.

[00:36:52] So maybe that's the the nicest or

[00:36:54] Gerry: like the easter egg. It's like an easter egg within the deck.

[00:36:57] Christof Zurn: Yeah, everything has a story and maybe maybe last one that I can share with you. I had a few weeks ago I had a call with a woman and She, she's, and I hope I can do a, a podcast with her because she wanted to talk with me and also about the jam cards.

[00:37:20] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:37:20] Christof Zurn: Okay. Interesting. How do you use it in workshops? By the way, what's your, what are you doing? So yeah, I'm teaching English. Okay. You're teaching English. yes, to, but conversation. So not learning English how to write, but how people talk with each other. And she said, you know, what's my material? The only material that I use, are the jam cards.

[00:37:49] They're, wait, hang on, wow, wow. And then she told me how she's doing this, and I hope I can do a podcast with her. So I was so pleased, because that was my, really my initial idea that people use it in a way that I never could have thought about it. And that was the best example, like, okay, teaching English conversation with the jam cards.

[00:38:12] Thank you.

[00:38:13] Gerry: I see that straight away, like, you know, there's when you're bringing people together when I'm designing workshops for business and stuff, I want to understand, do the people know each other in the room, if they do know each other in the room, that's not to say you don't do certain exercises. Sometimes you want to build on it, like the Playmobil Pro stuff that I use in workshops.

[00:38:33] You'd be surprised how often they unlock conversational starters with people when they design themselves or they, they use it in different ways. So, again, it's a tool. It's going to continue to, you know, surprise you, I imagine, over the, the next couple of years.

[00:38:51] Christof Zurn: A friend of mine came with the idea, but it was really Cool. We worked in, at the Dutch railways and we had different groups and we had onboarding and offboarding events. And this was really like people, okay, for the onboarding, it was like, explaining every person, just take a card and explain what it, what it means for you.

[00:39:14] And in the offboarding, everybody, instead of the boss holding a long speech, it was like everybody took a car and say, thank you, Gerry. You know. So, I loved that we always talked about tools, so this was like a trigger, and I do it sometimes in the workshop at the beginning, just, just take a card, and then ask them, who are you, and what do you do for a living, and by the way, make a connection with that card, but I just tell them later, and then they come up with something very Surprising.

[00:39:47] So it's like, and even people that don't like this, they think, I don't know why I took this card, but we're now at, but when I see this, Oh, this reminds me to that. And that's something like, so people are right from the beginning, it's, it's just a, just a tool.

[00:40:04] Gerry: well, it might just be a tool, but I think some people are starting to adopt it, from what I can hear from you there. are these cards available to buy easily enough on the internet, or is it, they are, you're nodding your head. Do you want to give a shout out where you can get them?

[00:40:21] Christof Zurn: That's the nice thing. Why I work together with this publishers, they're doing, they're selling them worldwide or they have a distribution worldwide. So it's an ISBN number. If you just. I think if you're in Europe, you get it. The next day and, and also in the U S I'm, I'm, I get mails from, from all over the, the world.

[00:40:42] Funny enough that people say, Oh, I have your cards and I use them in this way or in that way. It's really funny. So just go to your local bookstore and yes, Amazon has it too.

[00:40:53] Gerry: Okay, so I'll put a link to them on BIS and they might have a kind of product finder or something where you can order them from your local bookstore if you possibly can, folks. listen, Christof, it's always good, to chat with you. On that note, I did a quick Google Lens on that instrument and it's a Casio Rapman from the 1980s.

[00:41:17] That was the, that was the instrument that was in that card. But, If people want to reach out to you, what's the best way for people to do that? LinkedIn

[00:41:25] Christof Zurn: would work best. And there's one thing I would like to say, don't just. Just follow or how does it called link or connect? Just, just drop me one sentence. You heard the session or so I love context and don't just connect, just make it a little bit more than a

[00:41:44] Gerry: yeah, you know, it's always good to be a bit more human. Listen, Christof, I know, Christof has got COVID at the moment, folks, and he's powered on through to do this podcast. So, huge thank you for getting out of your bed to do it. If I'd have known that, we would have cancelled it. Don't know another time, but thank you for your time, your energy, your vulnerability of coming on and just having a conversation about this stuff.

[00:42:07] It's been really good to learn about it. I'm looking forward to using them.

[00:42:12] Christof Zurn: Thank you, Gerry. And I love to hear all the good things and the bad things that might be.

[00:42:25] Gerry: Absolutely. No worries. Listen, thanks so much, Christof.

[00:42:29] Christof Zurn: Thank you. Bye.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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