Those who cannot hear the music think that the dancer is mad

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Rational Madness

The Copenhagen Files

June 3rd 2004

Learning Lab Denmark

Science Fiction Speculations on a meeting


A space ship glides through an interstellar cluster heading for an asteroid belt. Navigating through such dense rocks and planetary fragments will be almost impossible. At the heart of the ship is its navigation system: a dance floor upon which a man, dressed in a dinner suit covered in sensors, waltzes to perfection with a woman, dressed in a beautiful ball gown, also bedecked with sensors. A thousand cameras are also trained upon their almost perfect dance; the images and movements translated, transposed by the computer into the expertise needed to pilot the ship safely through the million pieces of rock.

In a factory, a machine operator is about to set to work on his water-jet cutting machine. He inserts his hand into a black rubber glove which is covered in two hundred and twelve sensing devices. He takes hold of an equally sensor-covered kitchen knife and proceeds to cut a piece of cheese upon which fifteen cameras are trained. His expert movements, gained from over twenty years of experience, are processed by the computer visioning and sensing software and hardware and translated into the almost perfect cut of a large sheet of metal. Better quality performance is achieved than any comparable automated or robotic technology. The operator’s expertise at cutting cheese is transposed into metal cutting competence.

A COLLAB is set up by Learning Lab Denmark – a collaborative project between researchers and an industrial corporation. Tangible improvements in performance are measured in a classic before-after experiment where a team of people take part in a drumming workshop. They develop more effective rapport, communication and confidence which is transposed into better shop-floor performance. The improvement is clearly there but the specific transposed elements – these the researchers struggle to identify.

A new field of study is opening up. Little do the researchers know that they are beginning to pave the way for future inter-stellar space travel!



June 4th

A new theory of work and organisation? A genuine paradigm shift? New forms of work that do not arise out of the old but genuinely replace them? Are all of our “creativity tools”, our artistic interventions, our transformations, nothing more than applying air freshener or shoring up the foundations of a building that needs to be leveled once and for all in order to build something new?

Can we overcome the feeling that “revolution” is just an embarrassing cliche. Perhaps a revolution is genuinely and authentically needed. New ways of working.

Or perhaps a partnership of old and new. We could admit: we have solved the problem of production: the automatable, partly automated hierarchical input-output transformation system. But the innovation system - the creativity process - that requires an entirely new way of thinking, not built upon the creaking foundations of the old.

Diary/BLOG

June 3rd

Finn Kollerup of Alt4kreativ uses a tool for exploring problems and challenges that is about thinking negatively about them - why it WON’T work, what is BAD about it - the reversal creates a good dynamic and energy in the thinking.

June 4th

Organisations are cultures. Corporate anthropology is a growing field of study. What is the cultural “mood” of an organisation?

June 5th

A walk by the lake, I am reminded that reflection takes place best under conditions of complete stillness. And even then, the reflection is different from the original, though it adds new details and perspective.

An improvisation workshop with De Impro Tændte
at Alt4Kreativ. “Less is more.” When we use simplicity in our improvisation, we come closer to spontaneity and the drama is more telling, more powerful. Yet it is hard to do.

June 6th

A sense of loss today, a sense of rejection, healed by a marvelous boat trip along the canals to the harbour. The sheer change represented in the constantly moving water contrasts with the fixed structures of buildings. We need both - structure and process to creative our living culture. If the water is held too much it goes stagnant. If the buildings are too fixed they become dead. Copenhagen breathes with the life of its water.

Can we create heaven for five seconds?

Next page

“What is more beautiful - the stars in a Planetarium, or the gentle sound of voices shared on a lakeside evening walk?”