Box 1

Original Texts

Nina Holm Vohnsen

Humorous narrative; primary field of research: Danish labour market system

Jakob had worked for a private employment agency for some time. The agency’s area of expertise was to assess people’s work ability and to assist their possible return to the labour market in case of long term sickness absence from work. As a psychologist, Jakob usually got involved in cases where anxiety, depression or chronic stress had let people to lose their job – if they had ever managed to get one in the first place. A significant part of Jakob’s clients were not strong readers of Danish and an even greater part were not strong readers of the municipality’s bureaucratic letters. Jakob and his colleagues almost always ended up with the extra unpaid task of deciphering and translating into comprehensible Danish the content and intend of those letters. Yet, he found himself totally unprepared when one day he ended up receiving such letters himself: Jakob had been on a skiing holiday and had broken his arm. As a result he had to go through an operation and later physical rehabilitation which cut into his working hours. While he waited for his arm and hence had to work optimally again, he was ‘part-time absent from work’. His employer was entitled to economic reimbursement from the municipality for the amount of hours Jakob now was not able to come in to work. This allowed him to retain his usual salary during his period of part-time absence.

“After about four weeks I received a chart from the municipality. Here I had to report what had happened, what the treatment plan was, when I expected to be completely well again and when I expected to return to work part time. It clearly said that I had to return it before the 25th of November. If I didn’t it said, my employer would lose their right to economic reimbursement for my absence which again meant I would lose my salary. So I called up a unit called Benefit Service on the 23rd to ask where I should send the form ‘cause it wasn’t clear from the letter. As I expected it was to them, so I send it straight away to make sure they would get it in time. On the 25th I called up again just to make sure they had received it but the office was closed. I called up again on the 26th and was informed they had not received it. On the 27th I spoke to them again but they had still not received it and this was a Friday. They told me to call again the following Monday. But before I got around to it, on that Monday they had called up salaries here at my work to complain about the missing chart. The woman from salaries they spoke to told them I had already send it but they insisted I provided this information myself. So I called up again on the 30th and told them that I had send the chart in a week earlier and that I had called in about it several times. Well, first of all, for some reason it took me a very long time to get the message through that I had actually send it. And then when the lady I spoke to finally accepted that I had actually submitted the form in time she said, that it really didn’t matter that I had sent it two days in advance because if the post had not delivered the letter, it was my responsibility still. If I wanted to be certain it arrived, I should have delivered it in person. I told her that if that was the case, I thought I would be fair to write that in their letter. But then she said that not everybody had the possibility of going in and delivering it in person. Well, exactly I replied, that’s why I send it. I am at work during the office hours. Yeah well, she said, you cannot rely on the post…! Then she told me that my employer would not be reimbursed for the days I had so far exceeded the limit and that now she would send me a new chart and then I could resubmit it. But then what if that doesn’t arrive I asked her? I could see how this could easily take another couple of days or a week. I imagined loosing several weeks of my salary. I asked her if there was another option? And sure, I could go to another unit in the other end of the city and fill in a new chart. Well, in the meantime a formal procedure had begun, because I had not handed in the letter in time and stood to lose my income. So on that day I had received a new letter from the municipality that asked me to provide a written explanation for why I had not respected the deadline. So I sat down and described the whole thing; that I had actually submitted it two days in advance of the deadline and I referred to the calls I had made on the different days to make sure it had arrived. So I decided to bring this explanatory document along when I went down town to fill in the chart again on the following morning, the 1st of December. However, when I got there it turned out that they had actually received my letter on the 26th but just hadn’t got around to registering it in the files yet.”

Mythical narrative; primary field of research: Danish labour market system

Permanent Secretary, The Ministry of Employment:

“If you go back in time (and you do not have to go further back than to things I have been a part of) you will find that several political decision have been made on the basis of a relatively fragile knowledge. On faith in that if we do this or that it will probably work. And it is my opinion that the more you can build your policy on examinations of whether the things you want to do actually works – what some people calls evidence – that when we counsel the politicians regarding the construction of the labour market policies, that we do it based on data and preferably from controlled trials – with control groups and so forth… If we can say that we have examined that the way best to get people back in work is if you do this or that, and if we have – I nearly said scientific – but at least clear documentation for what the cleverest thing to do is and what will work best. The more we can do this, the better.”

“I have for some years now in this house spoken of what I call ’knowledge based policy’. And thereby I mean that the more we can provide political counseling and recommend certain policies based on knowledge, the better. And therefore, during the years I have been Permanent Secretary, I have tried to build up an analytical capacity in the Ministry of Employment so that when the politicians wants something, then we should preferably have foreseen that this topic will be relevant and already have spent some time having examined that if this is what they want to do, then what do we know and what can we recommend. […] This is what I call knowledge based policy which is perhaps a bit broader then evidence based.”

Humorous narrative; primary place of origin: Kerteminde

Ol’ Søren had put out eel traps in in the Fjord of Kerteminde. But when he came to empty them, someone had gotten to it in advance of him. This continued for some days. Then one night he decided to lie in wait of the culprit. The next day one of his neighbours asked Ol’ Søren who it was. Being a man of honour Ol’ Søren refused to disclose the identity of the thief. ‘But I’ll tell you this much’, he allowed, ‘his name begins with an A and ends with GAS’. And this way every fisher Minor Shore was warned that Anders Gas was a thief and not to be trusted, while Ol’ Søren retained his integrity.

And then there was Erik the Bricklayer who was a notorious drunk. So one day while he was building a new wall for a house his Master stopped by. ‘Now, Erik’, he said, ’are you sure this wall is plumb?’ Erik took a step back and took a good look at the wall and said: ‘Yes Master, I’d say it’s about that’.

And then there was Kurt Donse who fell into the ice crusher and died.

Mythical narrative; primary place of origin: Kerteminde

According to Myth, Sophie Krag, a local girl want to Copenhagen where she became engaged to the revue author Anton Melbye. Despite his fame and glory she left him for a childhood friend from Kerteminde, who had come to Copenhagen to study law. As a revenge, Anton Melbye’s close colleague Axel Schwanenflügel wrote the lyrics for My Amanda was from Kerteminde for a revue. The song became highly popular and is today the anthem of Kerteminde telling, as it does, the story of an independend, willful woman who are know knocked-over by bright lights and big cities.

Min Amanda var fra Kjerteminde,

og hun kom til København i fjor,

sikke hendes øjne kunne skinne,

hendes tænder var som perlemor.

Hun var slank og rank, og jeg vil an’ta´,

circa tyve tommer i figur.

:/: Og jeg gik på livet med Amanda,

hver engang hun havde udgangstur. :/:

Skæbnen kommer, når man mindst den venter,

hør nu bare, hvad der mig er hændt:

Sidste søndag traf vi en bekendter

og Amanda sa’ han var student.

Med et smil tog han sin hat galant a’

og Amanda smilede igen.

:/: Og så præsenterede Amanda

mig studenten som en barndomsven. :/:

Og vi fulgtes ad til Esplanaden,

der var lummervarmt den formidda’;

og ved pavillonen spurgte raden om vi sku’

et bæger ta’,

og da just der var en tom veranda,

og som sagt det var et dejligt vejr,

:/: blev vi herrer enig med Amanda

om at ta’ den lille genstand der. :/:


Efterhånden fik vi no’et at drikke,

jeg kan ikke huske, hvad vi fik,

men jeg husker nok, at jeg fik hikke

og gik udenfor et øjeblik.

Men da jeg kom ind igen, jeg fandt a’, der var ganske tomt ved vores bord,:/: der var ikke skygge af Amanda,

af studenten heller ikke spor. :/:


Ak nu er min lykkestjærne dalet,

ranet af en medicinsk student,

han er på Kommunehospitalet,

og derinde er jeg ikke kendt.

Derfor spø’r jeg , tror De det er sandt a’

læger over kød og blod har ret?

:/:For når jeg så hitter min Amanda,

er hun ka’ske lavet til skelet. :/


According the national mythology people from Fyn are easy-going, nice but simple minded.

Martin Holbraad

What the Comedy of Things event might be about:

What is it about? What’s it about? I have no idea. If pressed I’d say it must have something to do with (a) Morten P’s interest in humour combining with Morten N’s background in children’s entertainment; (b) their (our) modish interest in OOO-type stuff – e.g. how things analyse each other or us; and (c) all this in the spirit of ‘fun’ and ‘experiment’ which is their (our) trademark-manner of going about anthropology. But I also strongly suspect that our not knowing what the event is, let alone what it may be about, is also part of its point. Hence our having to do this exercise in guess-work. So I’ll make just a couple of observations about the effect of not-knowing and being asked nevertheless to front-load the action by guessing – i.e. a couple of observations about the predicament of having to provide these kinds of observations. Both of them relate to how this exercise serves to magnify or make visible aspects that may be present in all academic workshops/panels/projects etc., but which we probably downplay in order to convince people that we take what we do seriously.

  1. Not knowing what the event is about (and being asked nevertheless to guess) brings into view the role of free association (in the Freudian sense) in academic thinking. E.g. I’m confronted with the juxtaposition of ‘comedy’ and ‘things’, and given three DVDs that simply magnify the idea that all this amounts to is, precisely, a juxtaposition. So then in imagining what event this might be, and for what, therefore, I should be preparing myself, all I can do is ‘decline’ (in the grammatical sense) the concepts of ‘comedy’ and ‘things’ (and their cognates) with each other, and generate a range of possible manners of associating them (in what sense can ‘thinginess’ be deemed funny? What is the materiality of humour? …and from there onwards…). It seems obvious that this is an element in all thinking, but the seriousness of academic endeavour lies largely in the degree to which it is kept deliberately submerged, and thus transfigured in any given academic performance (a paper, a seminar question, a discussant’s commentary, an examiner’s comment etc.) as the mark of personal ‘imagination’. A matter of academic style rather than agency, to recall Gell’s distinction. The question then arises about when this might be ‘too much’: what balance is meant to be kept between the deliberately analytic and the I-can’t-help-myself imaginative? When does the latter’s preponderance turn one into a flippant smart-ass? The problem of bullshit too…
  2. Another (and perhaps converse) effect of guessing-while-not-knowing is that it seems to magnify the role (agency? power?) of the organizers. In the past couple of days, while doing ‘homework’ set by the two Mortens, I have found my head being unusually filled with thoughts of them. In the shower too… I’m not sure this is a form of empathy, since it is conditioned by a deliberate asymmetry between us. Indeed, the old Dumontian problem of hierarchy being a function of not being able to occupy the position of the other is played out here rather graphically. A kind of ‘eupathy’, perhaps, whereby the ‘joke’ is that while pretending not to mind we are allowing our minds to be played. Be that as it may, again, what this brings out is the degree to which academic work is always work for someone, and who that is modifies drastically the content of what might emerge. At some level, then, and whatever it might be, this is the Morten-event, and conceiving what such an event might be like is the name of the game – the game of the name. And again: when does this become “sheer indulgence”?, would be the worry…

So, fun measured in trepidation.

Joke from my country of origin – a Greek comedy of things (on getting into holes):

A pick-up truck was carrying a load of holes. When it hit a bump on the road one of the holes fell out. The driver got out of the truck to pick the hole up, and fell in it.

(I wonder what difference it would make if I said: ‘A Greek pick-up truck…’)

Anecdote from my primary research site – a tragicomedy of Cuban clothes (on getting out of holes):

Once, in the early 2000s, I was walking the streets of Havana under the afternoon sun, going from my flat to my best friend’s home. On a main road on my way there I noticed a middle-aged woman with a strange expression on her face, laughing loudly to herself. She was walking on the other side of the road from me, and, as she laughed in a hysterical or maybe a bit disturbed way, she started unbuttoning her dress. Children in a nearby schoolyard started howling at her, as children in Cuba do when something that to them seems outrageous happens within their view (e.g. a transvestite walking by will typically provoke this kind of collective bullying– seems to me groups of children are among the most conservative forces in Cuban society, and this may be universal). Anyway, the woman seemed oblivious to their teasing, but, for reasons that appeared to be her own, started speeding up, as she undid her dress to such an extent that soon her breasts were exposed and the whole thing was going south fast. Before we knew it the woman was down to her pants (‘bloomers’, as they say in Cuba), laughing uncontrollably and running up the length of the road, until she was lost from our sight.

I retold what I had seen to my friend and his elderly father when I arrived at their home. They said that people seem to be getting madder in Havana by the day. As anecdotal as it may be, this concurred with my own impression at the time – compared to just a few years earlier, I too had felt in my visits in the early 2000s that all sorts of odd people and odd behaviours were becoming more and more prevalent across the city. People breaking into fights for no apparent reason, shouting out, kicking buses or market stands, and, as I now saw, taking their clothes off. An local anthropologist colleague explained this also with reference to the cheap and strange drugs that had been entering the island in recent years – a new phenomenon for a country in which marijuana was the most extreme form of drug-delinquency one could imagine until very recently.

But when I think back on that woman I can’t help but feel that there was something poignant, if not quite amusing, about her act: in taking off her dress, and in the liberation she seemed to experience on doing so, running in the nude in broad daylight and laughing uncontrollably, it seemed to me she was literally taking off the yoke of her society, of the island of Cuba in its suffocatingly sorry, decrepit and largely hopeless state at that time.

Myth from my country of origin – mythos encompassed by logos:

This is from Plato’s Republic. Socrates is narrating in the first person and speaking with Glaucon. Socrates has just finished explaining that he believes the best city would have three distinct classes: rulers, soldiers, and workers. These three classes would be extensively educated and trained to perform their respective jobs. But also importantly, all three classes must keep strictly to their jobs and not aspire to interfere with or achieve the jobs of the other classes or else the city will be in disharmony. So now, below, Socrates explains that a new religious “noble lie” is needed to keep the three classes of people in their place, yet also to keep them loyal to each other and to the city-state.


“Could we,” I said, “somehow contrive one of those lies that come into being in case of need of which we were just now speaking, some on noble lie to persuade, in the best case, even the rulers, but if not them, the rest of the city?”

“What sort of a thing?” he said.

“Nothing new,” I said, “but a Phoenician thing which has already happened in many places before, as the poets assert and have caused others to believe, but one that has not happened in our time—and I don’t know if it could—one that requires a great deal of persuasion.”

“How like a man who’s hesitant to speak you are,” he said.

“You’ll think my hesitation quite appropriate, too,” I said, “when I do speak.”

“Speak,” he said, “and don’t be afraid.”

“I shall speak—and yet, I don’t know what I’ll use for daring or speeches in telling it—and I’ll attempt to persuade first the rulers and the soldiers, then the rest of the city, that the rearing and education we gave them were like dreams; they only thought they were undergoing all that was happening to them, while, in truth, at that time they were under the earth within, being fashioned and reared themselves, and their arms and other tools being crafted. When the job had been completely finished, then the earth, which is their mother, sent them up. And now, as though the land they are in were a mother and nurse, they must plan for and defend it, if anyone attacks, and they must think of the other citizens as brothers and born of the same earth.”

“It wasn’t,” he said, “for nothing that you were for so long ashamed to tell the lie.”

“It was indeed appropriate,” I said. “All the same, hear out the rest of the tale. ‘All of you in the city are certainly brothers,’ we shall say to them in telling the tale, ‘but the god, in fashioning those you who are competent to rule, mixed gold in at their birth; this is why they are most honoured; in auxiliaries, silver; and iron and bronze in the farmers and other craftsmen. So, because you’re all related, although for the most part you’ll produce offspring like yourselves, it sometimes happens that a silver child will be born from a golden parent, a golden child from a silver parent, and similarly all the others from each other. Hence the god commands the rulers first and foremost to be of nothing such good guardians and to keep over nothing so careful a watch as the children, seeing which of these metals is mixed in their souls. And, if a child of theirs should be born with an admixture of bronze or iron, by no manner or means are they to take pity on it, but shall assign the proper value of its nature and thrust it out among the craftsmen or the farmers; and again, if from these men one should naturally grow who has an admixture of gold or silver, they will honor such ones and lead them up, some to the guardian group, others to the auxiliary, believing that there is an oracle that the city will be destroyed when an iron or bronze man is its guardian.’ So, you have some device for persuading them of this take”?

“Not at all,” he said, “for these men themselves; however for their sons and successors and the rest of the human beings who come afterwards.”

“Well, even that would be good for making them care more for the city and one another,” I said.

Myth from my primary research site – logos encompassed by mythos:

This myth is one of the corpus of myths used for Ifá divination in Cuba. It belongs to the divinatory ‘sign’ of Oyekun Di, and is said to describe the origins of spirit possession. Initiates of Ifá (babalawos) use it to explain why the god of Ifá divination (Orunmila, known also as Orula) is more impartial than the rest of the divinities (orichas), and is therefore entrusted with divining truth through the oracle of Ifá.


After having conceived the earth, and having distributed the aché (viz. divine power—see below) to each of the orichas, Olofin (the all-powerful creator deity) gave the orichas the ability to send their form to the earth as an irradiation [sic], and to irradiate at the same time through many different people protected by the oricha in question. Each person who received this irradiation stopped being as they were before, and were converted into a being who could say things of which they themselves were not aware, since they were being possessed by the divinity, mounted by the oricha. When this phenomenon was first introduced things developed normally, but after a while everything began to change. Each person began to think of themselves as superior to the rest, and warfare began, using both weapons and secret knowledge (viz. sorcery). The warfare began to take its toll on the earth’s inhabitants, since each thought of themselves as a god in accordance with the knowledge they had acquired. One day Olofin sent Elegguá to inspect the earth and inform him on how things were. What Elegguá saw made him very angry. He asked one man, “What has caused this war on earth?” to which the man responded, “I am a child of Osain (the fearsome deity of herbs and sorcery), and my father has made me one of his most privileged children, since Osain comes into my head, granting me the knowledge I need, so I am the wisest of all.” Elegguá remonstrated with the man about his conceit, telling him that Olofin will not tolerate it and that the wars need to stop. The son of Osain insisted that he was king and that no-one would dethrone him. Annoyed, Elegguá continued his investigation among human beings and, having received similar responses from everyone he spoke to, reported back to Olofin. On hearing this, Olofin decided to send to the earth all of the orichas so that they could ask their respective children to change their behaviour. Obatalá went first, but he failed, and after him Olofin sent the rest of the orichas, but each of them failed. Having run out of orichas to send, Olofin remembered Orunmila, and, explaining the gravity of the situation, asked him whether he could bring an end to the war. Orunmila responded, “I promise you that I will fix this war on earth, and fix all the humans, but until I succeed I will not descend (bajar) into anyone’s head myself.” This being the reason for which Orunmila does not pass through any head. (From the oddu Oyekun Di)

Lise Røjskjær Pedersen

Place of origin – myth

The troll who got mad at Farum

(2 out of 5 children’s myths about the formation of Farum)


Now listen, said the old lady.

Once upon a time there was a troll up in Nord-Sjælland.

It was a very big and very cruel troll


Once he got really mad at Farum,

As in really mad

Why he got that mad nobody today would know

But he was so angry

That he wanted to destroy Farum.

He wanted to obliterate Farum.

He wanted to bury the town and the lake with soil.


Therefore he took a huge sack.

He started to collect soil and big stones

And he put it all into the sack


He took so much soil that a hole and a lake were formed.

The name of that lake is Arresø. That is the biggest lake of Denmark.

Then you can calculate yourself how much soil the troll actually took.


When the sack was full,

The troll started carrying it.

It was very heavy

And he started to walk towards Farum


When he had walked a while,

The sack broke and the soil started running out

But the troll didn’t notice it.

He just kept walking


The soil kept running out,

and soon the sack wasn’t so heavy anymore

The troll felt that.

He stopped and saw what had happened.

With one hand he covered the hole in the sack and then he started walking again


But he hadn’t walked far until a new hole appeared in the sack – just close to the old one.

The soil started running out again

Within very short time there wasn’t much soil left in the sack and the troll stopped.

He was angry, yes he was furious.

He took the sack and he threw it down on the ground.


Then he took the last bit of soil out of the sack and squeezed it to his hand and threw it towards Farum.

But it didn’t get that far.

It fell down and formed the little hill that we now call Vild-bjerg.


The first soil that fell out of the sack became Strø bjerge,

And in the middle of Strø bjerge there is an opening right outside the town Strø.

You can go there and look for yourselves, said the old lady to Faro and Ruma.


Right after she finished telling the story

Somebody knocked on the door

That was Faros and Rumas father and mother

They came to pick them up.


Now, Faro and Ruma had forgotten all about being mad.

They were happy that their father and mother picked them up and they were very happy that the troll had not buried Farum and the lake of Farum.


When they left, the old lady asked,

If Faro and Ruma wanted to come visit another some other day.

And they very much wanted that.

Place of origin – joke

From feudalism to ‘the Farum model’

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your squire takes the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, employ you to take care of them and sell the milk to you.

Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you looking after them and you all share the milk

Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes both an denies that they ever existed and then they force you into the army. Milk is prohibited.

Capitalism/liberalism: You have two cows. You sell one of them and buy a bull. Your crew is increased and economy grows. You sell them all, retire and live happily from the return.

Brixtofte-liberalism Or the Farum model: You have two cows. You sell 3 of them to your own listed company. You use guarantees written by your brother-in-law from the bank and you make a “debt/equity swap” with an official offer, so that you get all 4 cows back with a tax deduction for 5 cows. ‘The milking rights’ of the six cows are transferred through a middleman in a secret company, where the majority of the stock is owned by your closest friends who sell all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual accounts confirm that your company owns 8 cows with the option of buying one more.

Primary site of research – humorous narrative/anecdote

Welcome to the party! You all look beautiful! It’s been a shity year for the company! A tough year, but you are all extremely smart people, much smarter than me – which is actually a bit scary but thanks anyways. So; there is some good news and some bad news, which one do you want to hear first? Okay the bad one; The bad one is that there is a crisis in the company, we don’t know how to frame a project properly, but the good news is that there are 5 reasons why people should see this is a positive thing 1) I unites us 2) It makes us more equal 3) There is already jokes about it 4) it educates us and 5) it reminds us that we are building an institution…(people laugh)

A couple of minutes later P says to the crowd, so there is some good news, and some bad news. Which one do you prefer to hear first? Okay the bad one; so There is a crisis in the company and that is that we don’t have enough women in the company…but there are 5 good reasons why we should see this as a positive thing 1) It unites us 2) It makes us more equal 3) There is already jokes about it 4) it educates us and 5) it reminds us that we are building an institution…

Primary site of research – myth

The Creativity myth: A popular misconception is that creativity is fun and easy

There has long been a myth that creativity comes from a magical ‘aha moment’ in which a lone genius sees an apple fall from the proverbial tree. The myth of the lone genius and his aha moment has recently spawned a younger cousin that has become immensely popular in the worlds of business and consulting – the idea that we can all unleash our inner creative genius under the right circumstances. This belief has translated into the popularity of ‘ideation’ workshops characterized by walls of colourful post-it notes. During these energetic and theatrical sessions, participants are encouraged to take part in role-playing, release their inner child, or given strict rules to withhold any hint of critique. Increasingly, there is a belief that there is no problem so great that 10 smart people wearing thinking caps can’t solve it in one day. As enjoyable and uplifting as participation in these sessions may feel, they miss the point and rarely deliver groundbreaking innovation.

Creativity is hard work

This “brainstorm” approach focuses lots of time and energy on planning a session: creating the right atmosphere and selecting the most creative people. In contrast, true creativity is hard work, the bulk of which happens before and after any ‘ideation’ workshop. Examining innovations that have brought sustained impact, we find that all were born out of long periods of critical analysis, meticulous work and preparation.There are probably few institutions that we can credit with as many innovations and scientific breakthroughs as the academic world. Yet the process scientists and researchers go through in developing these breakthroughs is one of extensive study, constant revision, and meticulous peer review. It is a world of ongoing discussion and serious, constructive critique – not fun ‘creative exercises’ and role-playing games.It is the same in the Arts World. Picasso spent 2 years creating hundreds of studies of guitars before arriving at the Synthetic Cubism for which he is renowned. In these sketches and collages, Picasso broke down and examined the components of a guitar until he knew them well enough to reassemble them in a meaningful order that no one had attempted before. Indeed, most great artists work on their projects for hours on end, going through sketch after sketch before arriving at a satisfactory result. Clearly, creativity is slow, not fast.

Good ideas require immersion

Any successful innovation has to come from a place of deep knowledge and understanding of the issue and its context. While ‘ideating’ is not necessarily a bad method, brainstorming without contextual knowledge leads to biased or generic results that rarely hold up in the real market. Furthermore, deep understanding provides criteria to help hone in on the ideas that are most likely to succeed.

Just as Picasso immersed himself in the structure of a guitar to create his masterpiece, creating a great idea requires studying the rules, contexts and structure of the relevant phenomenon until they become second nature. This is strictly necessary in order to truly re-imagine the impact that changes in these rules, situations and behaviors will have. It takes countless hours of ruminating on the true meaning, until clarity and patterns in the data slowly emerge. Only then are you in a position to effectively think creatively and produce new ideas.

Great ideas require a period of maturing

Turning a thought on a post-it note into a tangible and implementable plan is no easy task. It involves a long process of fleshing out ideas: prioritizing, building, editing, prototyping, piloting, and then eliminating or tweaking as new issues become apparent. The secret sauce here is a healthy dose of constructive criticism, as relentless stress-testing is needed to make a good idea great. Rather than emphasizing the brainstorm of a slew of ideas, it makes more sense to focus on the meticulous evolution of a few fledgling ideas into tangible products and strategies. Often the final product has evolved so far that it bears no resemblance to the original ideation sketch. As this process of maturing ideas is continuous, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly when the final idea took form. In short, there is no aha moment.