What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation – #324

What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

Michael Hendrix: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

What can great musical minds teach us about creativity and innovation? That’s the topic of ‘Two Beats Ahead’, the new book by R. Michael Hendrix, global design director at IDEO, and Panos A. Panay, co-president and chief revenue officer of The Recording Academy (the organization behind The GRAMMY Awards). Drawing on first-person interviews the book explores the secrets of collaboration with Beyonce, the value of experimentation with Radiohead, the power of prototyping with Justin Timberlake, and the art of reinvention from Gloria Estefan, Madonna, and David Bowie. Co-author R. Michael Hendrix has had a 25+ year career that has made him a sought-after speaker delivering keynotes on design thinking at Fast Company, WIRED, and SXSW. In addition to his role at IDEO he also is an Assistant Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music and a regular guest lecturer for professional societies and universities across the globe.

What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation


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Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

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Michael Hendrix 1:02
extremes happy to be here.

James Taylor 1:04
So this is not your first rodeo. You’ve been on the show before many a number of years ago, probably when you first started doing the show. So thank you for coming back and being willing to share more today.

Michael Hendrix 1:15
I’m very happy to be here.

James Taylor 1:17
So I’d love to know, this is a Korean book with you in the powerhouse. Who did you write this book for? Who’s your intended audience? I know you have this background of design thinking so you always very much think about the intended audience the customer? And and why did you write this book? Why now this book?

What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

Musicians To Recognize Their Creative Potential

Michael Hendrix 1:36
Well, I think the audience evolved, you know, when when we started talking about the concepts of the book, it was actually in the context of teaching at Berklee College of Music. So we were exploring ways to help musicians at the school recognize their creative potential beyond the virtuosity of their art. Meaning, you know, you might be a great singer, a great, you know, a great performer of an instrument, a great dancer, great actor. But you also may not realize that you can transfer the skills that make you virtuous, and those arts to other parts of life. So that was a realization that we had come to in our own careers, about how we had been successful. And we wanted to unlock that for the students. So was actually several years of prototyping a course with students too, to lock in the terminology, the concepts. And then once we started to get a rhythm, we started realizing, well, you know, the things we’re talking about here are not only applicable to our students, but to anybody that would be one of those self-identifying creatives that somehow stopped doing it. At some point, it felt like, you know, they, for whatever reason, couldn’t put their energy into it. And what we want to do is say, actually, that part of you that part, that creative part of your identity, is actually a huge asset you have in your life, you may have been using it and you didn’t have the terminology to name it. Or you may have buried it, and it might be tough on locket so, you know, it’s broadly appealing it started it started really focused on the students. But then as we got into it, we realized there was a bigger audience.

James Taylor 3:23
And the central premise of the book is you said, the mindsets developed by musicians make them good entrepreneurs. So I read that and a firt. My first thing was kind of the pushback against it. You know, also the image I think a lot of people not from the music industry, they don’t understand music industry they have is of the starving artists. And so many of the musicians, I know, people have gone to places like Berkeley to great music colleges, they’ve actually become financially successful women have applied that creative minds to other fields, like technology, or business more generally. So I think I’ve probably met more wealthy music grads, banks in Dubai, or tech firms in Silicon Valley than perhaps I’ve ever met at music festivals. So am I wrong on this? Am I just taking it from the wrong perspective is it an outdated way of looking at things?

Michael Hendrix 4:15
Well, I think the examples you gave are actually a confirmation of the concept of the book. You know, if they did have this music education or this passion, and they have been successful in other industries, that for me would be the thesis of the book is that the musical mind that, that they developed, the skills that developed were applicable outside of the art form? You know, and, and so, it’s interesting that you know, we focused on musicians, you know, it’s partly just the nature of being a music school. Also, you know, personal curiosity. I mean, I had seen the same kind of concept play out as a designer with design thinking You know, saying that as a designer, we can teach others to take the way we see the world, the processes that we use, the methodologies we use and apply them to innovation theory. And so the question also was, Can you do that with music? And is there a connection between the two? And I would, you know, I don’t want to spoil the end of the book. But I think, you know, there is a connection.

James Taylor 5:21
And in the case studies, you are interesting, because you break down these different steps that musicians go through in their work, you know, taking something from that initial conception of an idea even before that to a final finished thing that’s living out there in the world. When the case studies I personally found most interesting, so I’m interested in her as an artist, I think she’s an incredibly creative mind is Bjork. There he is a woman who is constantly reinventing herself experimenting, trying new things, and looking for new influences. Can you share a little bit in the book about how you discovered what you discovered about her kind of working practices and mindset, especially in relation to how she uses nature as a creative catalyst? Because I think that was something that even if someone doesn’t work in it, music is something that is quite powerful.

Creative Catalyst

Michael Hendrix 6:13
You Yeah, so there’s a chapter about listening, that has this case about jerk in it. And what we’re trying to point out in that chapter is that we do lots of things to reduce the cognitive load in our lives, and we try to we, we, you know, our brains automatically do it for us, actually, it’s not a decision. Um, and that’s just so you know, when you’re driving down the road, you don’t have to, you know, recognize every tree, for example, that you’re seeing, you know, but what Dirk has done is she has been able to, at times, turn that off and actually say, I want to recognize what’s around me, I want to be observant of my environment. And I want to be open to that as a catalyst for inspiration. So in the book, we have a story about her being inspired by the sounds of the harbor, for the opening of a song called wanderlust. And she actually, coincidentally, posted about this on Instagram, in the last year. The harbor sounds were something that she grew up hearing in, Reykjavik, but actually, she ended up living on a boat to traveling around Two Harbors. And so you know, rather than just letting those sounds blend into the environment, or finding them irritating by being noise pollution, she started thinking about them in terms of music, and the patterns and the result they’re generating. And so the ship’s horns for her became a jumping-off point for a composition. And it’s really beautiful the way she did it, the recording in which you hear you hear the set what you think might be a harbor and the random sounds of daily life in an in of in the ships passing, seagulls flying over leaves wave slapping, but then they the chaos of it becomes orchestrated, and rhythmic. And it turns into music. I would say that’s a great illustration for what we do in business often is where, you know, we’re seeking opportunity. In our environment, we’re looking for a pattern in the chaos, or we’re looking to bring order to the chaos. Right. Um, and oftentimes, we have to stop and force ourselves to see what’s there. You know, I was an entrepreneur, before I came to IDEO, I helped co-found a digital company that brought software that brought visual stimulation into the carpet industry of all industries. And you might ask, like, why, why did you choose the carpet industry. And actually, it wasn’t about a choice, per se, it was just noticing, you know, I was in Upper East Tennessee at the time, North Georgia, you know, just south of the border thereof Tennessee, is where the majority of the world’s carpet is. So it’s about recognizing the opportunity that was there, recognizing what was missing, which was actually any digital technology being used in a very analog industry, and then recognizing that, that actually could become the new music we play and actually bring order into the space. So there’s also an example in the book of Dr. Dre and Jimmy IV, found in beats the headphones, same thing, they noticed a pattern in the environment that they could have ignored. I won’t spoil it for the reader. But that is the concept. And it’s an artistic concept. I would say musicians, you know, back to your earlier question. Musicians are just in the crucible of having to do these things a lot faster than most people have to do in their careers. They have to figure left out and learn how to get inspired. They have to learn how to collaborate with others quickly to bring those ideas to life. They have to learn to demo them in prototyping to get them to the stage where they’re shareable. You know, they have to learn how to experiment to find new ways to stand out It’s not unique to musicians, but it’s just the crucible of the business, the nature of that business that you’re in, that forces it faster.

James Taylor 10:08
So that idea of, of the space around us, I mean, as you imagine that I suddenly remember, I think it was to Killington, pasta or camp bass. Yeah, I can’t remember that they are, they always travel on a Pullman coach. And but these are people who are bands traveling on trains, there’s probably going to come back as a thing again. And you hear a lot in their songs like the little dial-in and there’s a pace, there’s, which is that kind of train five because you’re always writing on the, so you can feel how the environment affected the site. And one thing I was thinking, in terms of your work at IDEO, when you go I mean, you’ve worked with everyone from the department, Homeland Security to lots of brands, we probably know as well. How do you use space with them? If they let’s say, if you’re working during a workshop with a, with a group, they have maybe a problem they’re trying to solve? Do you look to try and pull them out of their usual space into a different place? Or do you want to use that physical environment they’re in and pull things from it?

Creative Spaces

Michael Hendrix 11:10
Well, ideally, if you can get people into unfamiliar spaces, they’re more likely to have new ideas, you know, and, and that’s a combination of factors. It’s, it’s just familiarity with your environment. To to the, you know, the day-to-day business that happens around you that can just pull you away. So, moving into a new space is actually a strategy a lot of artists, designers, and musicians use, for launching their creativity. You know, like Bjork, we talked about she often goes and then to nature to be inspired. In the book, we talk about Radiohead who, who often wrenched dilapidated rent dilapidated mansions across England, I guess, there must be several because they’ve seen many of them. Yeah, but they, they use those because they have a, they have a mood to them. They also have, you know, unique audio characteristics, you know, the way the reverb will work in the room, the way sound can flip through, through the hallways, etc. And they can use that as part of the art form. So I think part of that is stepping into new spaces with the belief that they will give you something back, you know, and it would be the same, the same idea and the listening cost we talked about earlier, there has to be this optimistic belief that you’re going to receive something. Um, so that forces you to be looking for things for inspiration versus just waiting for it to come to you. You know, if you just wait for things to continue, they generally don’t.

James Taylor 12:40
But that reminds me a little bit. There was that great. I think there’s a huge TED Talk that David Byrne did a number of years ago, we talked about how the did the music inspired the place or the places by the music. So we talked about Mozart, how much Mozart music is was performed at the time, it was kind of large Cylons as large high ceiling rectangular rooms. You know, if you go to see a choral concert, or even a ying Garbarek gig or something, it would have been in a big chorus of long, elongated notes if you go and see a Bon Jovi gig, mid-tempo, because the amount of time it takes note to carry further if you go and see a drum and bass jungle gig club, different vibe. And one thing I was, as you mentioned that I’m wondering, so many of us are living in our day-to-day in our business, we’re living in the zoom, we’re doing this just now in this case over zoom. And is there a value even if we have to do virtual ideation sessions, virtual brainstorming with collaborators or colleagues is Ravalli in maybe switching up then the platform that we’re using and not going in? It’s not going in this familiar zoom place or this familiar team’s place?

Brainstorming And  Collaborators

Michael Hendrix 13:49
You know, probably, I don’t know I have not. I have thought about the facts that question in terms of just moving to different rooms in the house or using different, you know, whiteboarding platforms like nearly or Figma, or Google Slides or whatever you want to use. They all do the truth. And what you’re saying is the technology does affect the product, our creativity, you know, we’ll take it back to music again, for a second think about recordings from the 1930s. And how the singer really had to project her voice to be heard over the band. Think about music today, where singers are literally whispering into a microphone because we can do we can record in such a different way with new technologies. Or another easy way to think about that is as the length of songs has changed over the years simply because of the formats that contain them. You know, some of the seven-half-inch records at 45 RPM can hold about three and a half-minute songs, therefore that’s what we got. You know, we got the long play records and albums you could do concept records. Today we’re doing streaming. And there’s actually been a lot of writing about this where musicians are doing unique things in the first 10 seconds. Have a song to try to grab your attention to keep you from getting the skip button that may not appear again and the rest of the song. So technology is always influencing us in some way. And I imagine, you know, whether you want to work on Zoom for a while to switch to a phone and have a conversation that way and go on a walk, I do think that would have an effect on your creative output.

James Taylor 15:20
Now, I think you did a talk in Silicon Valley. And you asked a question as the CEOs in the room, would you rather hire an athlete or a musician? So what was the response to that question?


Michael Hendrix 15:34
Well, it was a quick turnaround initially, everyone said athlete. And I think that’s because the things we associate with athletes, we associate discipline, we associate teamwork, we associate grit. We associate desire to win, like, oh, who doesn’t want those things? Right. I mean, it sounds good. But musicians also have that, I mean, if you’ve ever met a serious musician, you know, they’ll practice five, eight hours a day, you know, they’re making many personal sacrifices to perform on a regular basis. They live, you know, on scraps sometimes, but that’s the resilience because they have a belief in what they’re trying to accomplish. So if you just look at it, that service level, there’s actually not a lot of difference. Um, but we’re musicians, I think having an advantage is where, you know, in sports, it’s very rare that the rules change. Right? So you might be an excellent athlete. Because you’ve learned the game really well, you know, you know, exactly how the rules are played, the pitch, the length of the tissue doesn’t change, etc. Musicians are changing and adapting constantly to the context, you know, it can be the club’s size is different, the audience is different band members want to improvise, etc. There’s just a lot more changing dynamic there. So they’ve built a capacity to deal with change, that doesn’t go no, wait, you can’t do that. This is how we do it. These are the constructs we work in, it’s more like more of an openness to Oh, it’s changing again, I’m going to follow along and figure out how to get there. So I would argue in today’s business environment, adaptability is one of the major needs we all have from our workforces, you know, I mean, we cannot predict what’s happening anymore. The pandemic is a great example of how disruptive we’ve been, and those that have the mindset that is willing to improvise that are willing to change have been far more successful than those that felt like, we need to go back to certain ways of doing things.

James Taylor 17:45
And even the idea of adaptability, even within the music. You mentioned the book, I think it was it was a quote from Roger brand, the Berklee College of Music president who said that leadership today or leadership, the way it was, in the 1950s, or even up to relatively recently was almost like the conductor with the orchestra, everyone has their part, everyone has the music in front of them. The conductor is basically can move things. And actually, if you have really good musicians, almost you don’t need the conductor. They can they can disappear. But what he was saying, and you were gonna, like I think pushing forward in the book was that? Well, in some way, music changed, business management has changed as well. And actually, that’s not the best model, the idea of the conductor with the orchestra is not the best way of thinking about modern management. And you said for Williams is actually a better example of someone to think about in terms of modern management techniques. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Modern Management Techniques

Michael Hendrix 18:42
Well, first a great collaborator, right? He is, of course, he has ideas for things he wants to accomplish. But if you look at how he accomplishes things, it’s never alone. He’s finding peers with equal creativity, and then stepping alongside them and joining in working in partnership versus top-down, you know, and that would be the argument I’m making about Beyonce in the book, she does the same thing. Most Great musicians are not trying to be the ones with all the ideas and all the skills. In fact, T bone Burnett talks about this in the producing chapter. He says he gives an example of when he was a young producer, he wanted to go in and tell the musicians what the play, you know, yeah, he had in his mind, the arrangement, the sound. And he was working with excellent, famous musicians, you know, and I don’t mean to call that one. That was a drummer that actually spoke up at some point he said, Look, wait, why do you need me like if you think you know, needs to be done, don’t hire me to play, you know? What you’re looking for are leaders who see the best and others and then let them leave in that at that moment where they’re best. You know, in music again, we have something called leading and content so if you’re jamming together, you might take the lead, someone will play the composition behind you, you’ll finish surely now they’ll take the lead now, and you’ll count behind them, that that’s the leadership model we’re talking about, and all the artists in the book, do this.

James Taylor 20:11
But that requires trust, that seems to be the tissue for that, for that all to work for you to be able to, you know, as you say, working alongside someone throwing out a phrase to another musician. That trust, I guess, is a big component of that.

Michael Hendrix 20:28
It’s trust built-in, not in naivete. I mean, they’re, they’re not, you know, they’re not choosing me to collaborate with right. People that are, you know, they’re their world-class peers. Alright, I think it’s a very important component of this. So they are seeking out others they believe are excellent. And because they believe they are excellent, and because those people have a track record of being excellent trust is automatically there. They’ve proven themselves over and over again, I would say this is true about any collaboration, the best collaborations aren’t made by random groups being put together. Because you don’t know what people are capable of you haven’t built that trust, the best collaborations are built upon the evidence that there are other that you brought in and have great success. You know, in my classes I talk about, I just talk about it in two ways, I say, there are two things, two characteristics that are important to collaboration. One is that you need to be sharpened your craft, whatever you want to call that. And the reason you want that is it’s your calling card for other people to want to collaborate with you. Like they, they need to know that you’re excellent at something. The other thing is the flip side, you need to be curious, you need to be curious about that excellence and others. So in my course, what I do, I just did two weeks ago, I get the students to break into small groups. And I say, I want you to introduce yourselves, simply by saying your name and something, you’re a great app. And so the students introduce themselves, and it can be anything from, you know, something related to their studies too, you know, personal interests. But once they have that list of the five things that excellence is embodied by their group, they can decide what would you do with that? Knowing that you have these five people of excellence that can do these five things? What new thing could you build? And the answers are super, super interesting. Because they take the students in new directions that they would never have imagined before. And they have confidence they could actually accomplish it.

James Taylor 22:31
Essentially, that beat that curiosity piece, I remember having a different field coming from to live in the UK and then moving to the United States and California, where in the UK the first question is kind people to ask is the cast where you are from? And often what they’re trying to do and the either asking it, or they’re listening to your accent to try and figure out where you’re from because then that distinguishes class and a whole bunch of other things. But we went to school that when I went to America is what you do is and that seemed to be the question that was getting asked a lot more. And I guess that’s also about salary, income, you know, status, all those things. And then, and I suddenly saw I was talking to someone the other day who speaks Gallic because a native Gaelic speaker and they say, that’s not the question that we asked, we asked a question, where do you belong? Does it translate in English as to where do you belong? And I thought that’s a much more curious question asking where you’re from? Because where you’re from is okay, I was born here, but where do you belong? That’s, that’s a more interesting question.

Michael Hendrix 23:38
It’s a very interesting question. It says, Did

James Taylor 23:40
Do you belong? Where do you belong? Michael?

Michael Hendrix 23:46
I think I belong where I am. It’s a creative professional. I’ve certainly made my mark there.

James Taylor 23:54
Now you’re talking about collaboration. Something else that I’d never thought about you pick up in the book and you explain in the book is, you see British bands like being in a club, being a member of a club. You don’t trust anyone outside of your circle? It’s very in there, but American bands think more in terms of extended collaboration, a larger community. My wives have a good friend Ricky Gervais, the comedian’s wife, Jane is also a great author. And it kind of got me thinking of so many successful British TV comedy series as a great one on just now. So I think season three and that’s it I’m stopping. So that’s a very British thing to do. Because if that was the Americans, it would be on Season 24 By this point, because in America you have the writer’s rooms you have where the British series tend to be written by one or two maybe three writers. In America, you have these writer’s rooms and people can’t come they leave. So what secrets of successful collaboration can we Brits learn from our American cousins?

What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

Collaboration And Community

Michael Hendrix 25:00
Well, you know that that characterization of bands was said by John Stewart from Wilco. Um, and he had noticed, and he actually discussed it with his other friends that he’s made across the world. I think in America there, there’s certainly in music. And I would say you could probably extend this out to other forums, the community is a huge part of it. So, you know, in the book, when John brings that up, what he’s talking about is, you know, the reason he got into music in the first place has he loved the community aspect of it, it was like going to these different cities, meeting like-minded people, you know, hanging out with them hanging out with the other bands, meeting other musicians seeing what they could do together. And he noticed later in his career, he was seeing the same thing in the hospitality industry, and in like, in coffee, and restaurants and that got him really curious about this, the same kind of collaboration and community, it led to him as a basis in the band to co-founding a hotel. And you know, and you wouldn’t imagine those two things have any relationship to one another. But for him, the very clear relationship was that community is always trying to seek out ways to bring like-minded people together to build something together to collaborate. So, you know, I can only speak from my experience living in America. Oh, you know, I’ll leave it to you to translate how that might be different in Britain. But that’s certainly the way John characterized it in the way he explained his own entrepreneurial growth.

James Taylor 26:31
Now you do and also past do a lot of work in the UAE, you through IDEO, and panel, some of it was through the two Grammy and none of the Grammys another grant. So Berkeley opened up a campus in Abu Dhabi. I’m interested in what’s your experience with the creative scene in the UAE? Have you kind of fan Have you seen Dubai is very different from Abu Dhabi, but what are your experiences?

Michael Hendrix 26:58
Well, I found I found the creative scene in UAE to be in Mesa,. You know, it’s a very complex part of the world. But the thing I would say, when I say nascent, I don’t mean naive, I mean, actually, a lot of burning energy, a lot of excitement, a lot of desire to build new. I mean, there’s, there’s a great arts district in Dubai, that I want to go to that, yeah.

James Taylor 27:26
I was there about a month ago, it was like, I hadn’t been there before I was there for Dubai Expo and, and I thought my city, my wife, let’s go this area. And I thought it was really interesting. It was very different from the way that an area like that would be in LA or London, for example.


Michael Hendrix 27:42
Yeah, I think we’re just seeing the beginning, actually there. And it’s a very young, the, you know, it’s a very young country, literally a young country. It’s a young demographic as well. And there’s a lot of desire to make their mark in the world. So, you know, a lot of the work we’ve been doing at IDEO has been helping answer the question, how do you unleash the creativity of a region? How do you help people fulfill their dreams creatively, and that can be entrepreneurial. It can be artistic. But I, I’ve really enjoyed being in that environment, because it’s, it’s such a candy spirit, and there’s so much excitement to create new things.

James Taylor 28:21
It seems to have a lot of the component parts obviously, you’ve got finances like the modern-day meta cheese, or there, you’ve got a lot of really smart people, people come from all different worlds that people you know, from different perspectives. The one thing I do wonder, and I can’t contrast this with, like Berlin. So like Berlin is very gritty. And New York is very gritty, and San Francisco, like tenderloin, very cool. And London is like this as well. There’s a, there’s a darker side. It was a grittiness to it. And one thing I did wonder is in, especially in Dubai, it’s very glistening and clean. I want can can creativity really prosper in that type of environment? Do you need a little bit of grit in the system?

Michael Hendrix 29:10
I think so. And this is actually one of the struggles in the UAE, you actually hear more younger people talking about the creative energy of Abu Dhabi. And Dubai. Yeah, I’ll be web more the business center, you know, which is

James Taylor 29:25
interesting because Abu Dhabi Art Center, is a little bit more conservative in some ways as well, but it’s it is, but it has the Louvre Gallery, and this is a different vibe has a different feel to

Michael Hendrix 29:33
it. Yeah. And I’m careful not to pit one against the other because I see, you know, great creativity in both. Yeah, both places. But if you’re young, you’re trying to start out I mean, part of the grittiness is like not having the money and you need to like live in the cheapest place you can and you don’t have anything to do so you’re hanging out with other people that don’t have anything to do and you start making things together and that happens. So we’ve been, you know, exploring how not how to manufacture that but how to How to actually support that kind of growth in a very wealthy place. And what you do see, as you say, are a lot of young Arab speakers coming to Dubai from all over the region, right? They want to be there, they know the energy, they know there’s, there’s money there, there’s support. And so it’s about finding places for them to be able to have that gritty experience in an authentic way.

James Taylor 30:25
It was a little bit of there was in Vienna, where the end of the day, I think it was TYFA account with great typhoid or something happened in the 18th century where you had a lot of people coming from eastern parts of Europe and all in place, or coming into Vienna it was. And it reminded me a little bit of that where I’ve probably met more Lebanese and Dubai and I’ve ever met when I’ve spent time in Lebanon as well. And so you’ve got all this stuff, and it’s kind of rubbing up against each other. So I think that’s kind of that there’s an interesting side of that is different cultures rubbing up against each other.

Michael Hendrix 30:56
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, what it’s such an exciting place because of that you have people from everywhere, absolutely everywhere.

James Taylor 31:03
So if people were listening to just they haven’t visited go check out Dubai expos on just now. It’s interesting. Event. How do you keep your own thinking fresh? How do you what influences Do you try to surround yourself with?

Michael Hendrix 31:17
Um, you know, I’m, I’m often looking backward, believe it or not, you know, I know, some people are always trying to get the latest books, the latest thinking, I’m looking back through history. So I often might have big piles of books all around me that, you know, I’ve blurred out, so you can’t see. But I’m interested in what people used to think. And that’s from a design perspective. You know, obviously, literature, because I see patterns that repeat over and over again, and, and I think great art is often getting to genuine human experience, which does not change dramatically over time. So that’s what inspires me is to look backward. Be kind of a history buff. And you know, the areas I’m interested in music is the same way, you know, especially now, when you have so much new music coming at you. I do like to try to hear, you know, new releases, but I’m often going back in trying to discover periods of music that I somehow missed, you know, records, I was listening to a Tangerine Dream album yesterday that wow, it was actually recorded before I was born. It was called electronic meditation. And what’s hilarious about it is it’s got a modular synthesizer on the cover. But I think it might have been tongue in cheek because you know, it’s guitar, drum and bass and flute. So anyway, I love going back and trying to try to understand what is happening in this time of reading about it, because I think it’s revelatory. Two ideas today.

James Taylor 32:43
I wonder if that was someone at the record label set and saying that we need to sell some copies here. Let’s put a synthesizer at the front.

Michael Hendrix 32:50
Like the WHO THE who is a synthesizer? Let’s see what we can do this.

James Taylor 32:55
The final question for you had, that you mentioned Imogen Heap in the book as well. And she uses a lot of technology to kind of augment her creativity and things are new and interesting ways. In your own work, are there technologies that you find particularly useful as a way kind of not really taking away from your creativity, kind of augmenting it in some way?

Two Beats Ahead

Michael Hendrix 33:18
Well, I really feel like everything’s augmented at this point. My whole life is augmented. But as far as getting a leap of creativity, you know, I, I often find that using a new tool is a way to get into new ideas, you know, and again, from music, I would say, you know, Johnny Marr talks about this like he says, every guitar has a song and it’s interesting reading interviews with him because he’ll, you know, he’ll, if you can give him a guitar from a certain era, he’ll say, Oh, this is the one I wrote the song on, and he plays that song that he wrote on that particular guitar. So I often am thinking about tools in that way. You know, what can you what new thing you might discover a new creative process. And, you know, you know, some software can do that sometimes for you, or, you know, new input devices, etc. But I think it’s easier for me to think about it in terms of music or, or art or design than it is in terms of just general brainstorming.

Two Beats Ahead by Panos A. Panay | Hachette Book Group

James Taylor 34:23
Maybe the next book you write is going to be written on a spectrum Zedeck spectrum or an old-fashioned typewriter. See where that goes with it. Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation is a great book out now with lots of fantastic stories, and great case studies in it. If you’re a musician, you can love it. But if you’re not a musician and use interest in the creative process innovation, then you’re still gonna be a really, really powerful book to read. Michael, where is the best place for people to learn more about your work and the things the projects you’ve got going on just now?

Michael Hendrix 34:54
Well, twobeatsahead.com is a great place to catch up on everything book. So I suggest going there. And, you know, it’ll probably lead you to other parts of the internet. If you’re curious.

James Taylor 35:05
You’ll find it. Michael, thank you so much for coming on the super, super creativity podcast, your second visit to our podcast and so lovely to have you back.

I enjoyed being here. Thanks. You could subscribe to

the super creativity podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. Please leave us a review. I would really, really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor, and you’ve been listening to the super creativity podcast.

What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

creativity blueprint

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