Limitation as the starting point for creativity

To see limitations as the starting point for creativity is a great skill to develop.

Every day we face limitations. And limitations are everywhere. We find mental or physical boundaries of circumstances we might have chosen or not. We depend on beliefs, on schedules, on language, on nature, on the weather, on others, on our helpers, colleagues or family.

But we also might experience limitations where others see possibilities. If we want it or not, boundaries help us to focus. To focus on the limited options that are left. So we take them as a starting point to make the best out of it to diverge from our boundaries, develop new ideas and live the mantra ‘less is more’.

The Limitations Card

The essence of the limitations card is how can we de-focus from our experienced horizons and be curious about what else there is. This means take limitations as a start for new choices and divergent thinking to develop new innovations.

The picture

The picture is a snapshot with my iPhone. One morning I came down to the living room and saw my Ukulele with a broken string. Besides the fact that I had to fix this, I was charmed by the nice picture.
Because the way the a-string was standing in the air with this lovely curve gave me a sense of not just fixing this problem but trying to use it as it is.
I played half an hour with only three strings and it struck me how easy and convenient it was. My playing was totally different than normal. More simple, like an exercise in focusing.

The quote

To Achieve Great Things, Two Things Are Needed;
A Plan, And Not Quite Enough Time.

I love this quote by Amercain composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. This is not just about improvising but about focus. To start with a plan that gives you the focus on vision and guidance is essential. The limitation in time to speed up decision making and on the spot creation of choices is the starting point for creativity.

The sonic trigger

The limitations card does not have a musical sample. The Spotify link leads to the spoken words of Leonard Bernstein, a disclaimer before the performance of Brahms c-minor concerto.
This is a great example of leadership and followership together. In leading, in this case, the New York Philharmonic and in following, in this case, the ideas of Glenn Gould. So the ‘limitation’ of working together and taking a step back in leading and giving the partner the space to introduce his ideas and bringing this all together is great leader-followership.

Please take your time to listen to the introduction and also to the concerto, it is worth it.

The cues

On this card SCORE, AGILITY and PERSONALITY are interconnected. The SCORE is the plan, in this case, the original composition of Brahms. It is connected with the PERSONALITY of Bernstein and Gould, so interesting it is not one PERSONALITY but in this case two. In AGILITY you have to make decisions, sometimes on the spot. This means before you would REMIX, this would be the performance, AGILITY is making sense of PERSONALITY and SCORE.

Some inspirational links:

5 Hours of Glenn Gould Outtakes. Why? Listen and Find Out.
Leonard Bernstein Artful Learning

Music Thinking Jam Cards

 An inspirational card set for change makers, pattern recognisers, innovators, transformers and natural collaborators. The Jam Cards consist of 38 inspiration cards and six cue cards. All inspiration cards have a keyword, a visual and a sonic trigger, a trigger question, an inspirational quote, and six cues that connect with the Music Thinking Framework. You can use the cards from a strategic point of view, knowing what you want or need and a serendipity approach open to everything that will happen. ‘Music Thinking’ lets people work and play together in a new way with inspirations from the rich world of music.

Order the Music Thinking Jam Cards

You can order the jam cards via your local bookstore (worldwide) and have a nice chat with the people there and try the cards right away, or just buy them directly at BIS Publishers.

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