Shuffle Me This

I’ve been wanting to post about the excellent Soulard Idea Market event the other night, but haven’t have the chance to write about it in a way that will do it justice.
Like other Open Space events I’ve been involved in, there were some great conversations, all happening at the idea layer, not the social chit-chat layer.
Matt Homann put up the traditional LexThink big post-it where people could write down stupid ideas. That’s always fun and gets you thinking. I didn’t get the chance to write anything then, but this morning I was reminded while driving behind yet another SUV where I can’t see anything, that the idea of tinted rear windows in cars, SUVs and vans is a stupid idea and probably a dangerous one. I still can’t figure out want problem it was designed to solve.
That aside, I’ve been thinking about another idea – the idea of shuffle.
Here I’m thinking about the “shuffle songs” feature of iTunes and the iPod. I originally thought that the coolest thing about an iPod was that you really could carry your whole music collection with you. I also liked that I could decided exactly what I wanted to here in the order I wanted to hear it.
However, planning and control of what you play has a price. It takes time and, at a certain point, you run out of imagination or want to stop making decisions.
On a plane trip, I simply put the iPod on shuffle and listened to what came to me, surrendering to the element of randomness and letting myself see if I could either simply relax and give up the need for control or whether the randomness would let me see / hear new patterns.
In truth, I still needed to be able to advance past a song if it didn’t fit my mood. That element of control is hard to give up.
But lately, though not all the time, I go with what the shuffle plays, without jumping forward. It’s a different mindset – kind of an interesting one. After all, it’s playing songs that I actually chose to put on my iPod.
And I’ve found that the unexpected patterns and connections are a treat, making it an enjoyable exercise.
It’s not exactly Open Space, but it’s a fascinating thinking and creativity exercise. And it reflects the rapidity and randomness of the events that come at us every day lately.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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