Instinct puts us in the moment, intellect is slower. He has a unique knack for embracing the ambiance of life. The mercurial renaissance man has dabbled in almost every type of creative endeavor imaginable. In addition, Brian Eno is a noteworthy visual artist, philosopher, and musical theorist.
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He was a founding member of Roxy Music, created at least 3 classic solo albums before becoming bored of conventional rock music and subsequently inventing ambient music. He pioneered generative sound software, composed the famous Windows startup sound, and worked as an activist for political and environmental causes. How does someone so prolific come up with so many original ideas? In the s he devised a method for discovering new creative possibilities, which came to be known as the Oblique Strategies.
The appeal of the Oblique Strategies is that they are useful not just to artists and musicians, but to anyone adventurous enough to seek unexpected insights when dealing with uncertain outcomes.
Together with an artist named Peter Schmidt, Eno created a deck of cards that could be consulted whenever a mental obstacle is encountered. Each card features a direct instruction for how to proceed. Breakthrough ideas often begin as mistakes. By treating the mistaken result as your desired outcome, you could make a discovery you would never consciously have arrived at. Would anyone want it? Entrepreneurs have to have vision, but sometimes that vision can be myopic.
Will anyone want this product or service? The bare bones of Google Glass contain some very cool, futuristic ideas, but perhaps no one at Google took the time to consider whether anyone would want it.
Be dirty. Maybe rather than focusing on launching your company with the finished version of your offering, you should consider launching with an MVP minimum viable product to allow you to continuously improve and iterate via customer feedback. Not building a wall but making a brick. Perhaps by reframing an aspect of your work, you can better understand its significance in the whole. A single ingredient vs an item on the menu vs the entire menu vs the dining experience vs your brand vs your neighborhood vs food culture at large.
There are several different editions of the cards available. The easiest to find and most current edition is composed of cards. The basic principle behind lateral thinking is that by approaching a problem from a different angle, we may be able to find better solutions. Utilizing imagination and inspiration to generate unexpected solutions to the problems you face means not simply going for the obvious solution.
Ideas should not compete against each other, but instead should clarify our methods until we have chosen the optimal solution for an individual problem.
But it could cost dearly not to.
Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies Applied to Business
Share via Email Decks appeal Photograph: Public Domain What are they? The original Oblique Strategies Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas , was a set of cards created by Eno and his painter friend Peter Schmidt , and published as a signed limited edition in On each card is printed an often quite abstract instruction , which is invoked when an artist, producer or band has reached some form of creative impasse and requires external disruptive influence to suggest new ideas. Who uses them?
Hey, what's that sound: Oblique Strategies
Eno, who had known Schmidt since the late s, had been pursuing a similar project himself, which he had handwritten onto a number of bamboo cards and given the name "Oblique Strategies" in There was a significant overlap between the two projects, and so, in late , Schmidt and Eno combined them into a single pack of cards and offered them for general sale. The set went through three limited edition printings before Schmidt suddenly died in early , after which the card decks became rather rare and expensive. Sixteen years later software pioneer Peter Norton convinced Eno to let him create a fourth edition as Christmas gifts for his friends not for sale, although they occasionally come up at auction. With public interest in the cards undiminished, in Eno once again produced a new set of Oblique Strategies cards. The number and content of the cards vary according to the edition.
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