July 28, 2013

Endless Frontier: Chicago CreativeMornings #20 with Chris Eichenseer of Someoddpilot

Photo by Knoed Creative, Organizers of Chicago CreativeMornings

July 2013: The seventh Chicago CreativeMornings gathering featured Chris Eichenseer, founder of brand design studio Someoddpilot. CreativeMornings’ global theme, this month, was “Space.” Eichenseer shared his perspective that celebrated the cosmic and its relevance to our work on the ground.


Eichenseer’s presentation struck a major chord of vulnerability. It also sounded backwards, which was the CreativeMorning’s theme for May 2013. “Insignificance is Significant” echoes two firm points that theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, who wrote the book “A Universe from Nothing” (including “The Physics of Star Trek”), made to the audience during the 2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate “Existence of Nothing” at the American Museum of Natural History: “Nothing is the most critical part of the universe. So you are more insignificant than you can ever imagine.” A sharp serving of reality.

We, humans, excel at being inconsiderate: judging whom or what is not worthy of our consideration. Eichenseer encouraged the practice of considering other directions, and to appreciate the diversity of phenomena that can feed creative work. In particular, to recognize the range of phenomena, in all sizes, from the infinitesimally grand to the infinitesimally small(1).

Another tiny-yet-gigantic statement served by Eichenseer: when “Insignificance is Significant” is seized, freedom ensues. The three magic words, “Take a chance,” never get stale. This is one of the ultimate patterns of practice evident in past talks at Chicago CreativeMornings, and it will be reinforced moving forward. Making is shallow without taking chances. One of the best expressions of this sentiment—directly related to space—came from Steve Jobs: “Make a dent in the universe.”(2)

Photo by Nate Burgos. View More.


Cherish the insignificant and ripple that space-time.

(1) Speaking of the infinitesimally grand to the infinitesimally small, watch the short film “Powers of Ten” by designers Ray and Charles Eames.

(2) In his co-authored book “REWORK,” 37signals’ Jason Fried, who spoke at the second Chicago CreativeMornings, there is a chapter called “Make a dent in the universe” that begins: 
“To do great work, you need to fuel that you’re making a difference. That you’re putting a meaningful dent in the universe. That you’re part of something important. This doesn’t mean you need to find the cure for cancer. It’s just that your efforts need to feel valuable. …”

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Big thanks: to Braintree, a provider of a payment platform, for sponsoring and hosting Chicago CreativeMornings #20; to organizers Kim Knoll and Kyle Eertmoed of Knoed Creative, who spoke at Chicago CreativeMornings #7, and all of the Chicago CreativeMornings crew—Geremy Good, Joy Burke, Chris Gallevo, Liz Cook, Isaac Steiner, Erick De La Rosa—for their work on making CreativeMornings happen in Chicago.

Especially big thanks: to Tina Roth Eisenberg—Swissmiss—for inventing CreativeMornings in 2008. The fifth chapter was launched in Chicago, June 2011—my write-up and photos.

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Lovingly written in Editorially. Typeface of quotes is Univers (1954) designed by Adrian Frutiger.

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Read more Chicago CreativeMornings coverage.

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2011 was Chicago CreativeMornings’ debut year. Download the entire collection of insights.

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Next Chicago CreativeMornings on Friday, August 23.