Friday, 18 October 2019

ARTICLE 2 - Part 1: Lateral Thinking, Harmonics & Music (Episode 32)

NOTE: In order to better understand all the ideas presented within this blog, I encourage you to first read the book: Renegades of Disruption: How To Overcome Humanity's Overwhelming Resistance To Change & New Ideas. 

You can download a free PDF version with this link:
Renegades of Disruption

You can also order a physical copy of the book here: 

Renegades of Disruption (Paper Copy)

Part 2 of this article can be found here:
ARTICLE 2 - Part 2: Lateral Thinking, Harmonics, & Music


What exactly is Lateral Thinking and how could it single-handedly solve Global Sustainability? 

Let’s talk about the study of Music to better explore this issue.

At its heart, Music is basically strategic vibrations. If I start beating on a drum, or on my desk really out of tune, I’m creating music. It’s just not good music. It’s out of tune. But a professional or even amateur musician is considered to be in tune. The music sounds pleasant to our ears. And this can be mathematically proven with the study of harmonics.

An expert musician’s brain is able to pick up even the slightest of unwanted musical vibrations. Unwanted sound waves. A musician’s brain in music could be compared to various sophisticated equipment we humans utilize to study harmonics in other fields. This is often done with mathematical functions like the Fourier series (Math is Fun, N.D.) named after Physicist and Mathematician, Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier, who developed the function while studying heat transfer.

In essence, the study of vibrations or music, is the study of Harmonics. And this principle crosses many fields:

Electrical Engineers and Technologists utilize harmonics to eliminate unwanted electrical noise (Eaton Corporation, N.D.). Without these mathematical functions, our electric grid would not operate anywhere near as smoothly. We would probably be able to power lights and heat, but our electrical systems today are far more sophisticated than a century ago, since we need to run more sophisticated technology, like whatever you’re using to read this article now.

Automotive Technicians and Automotive Engineers utilize harmonics to dampen or repair unwanted engine vibrations, otherwise known as noise, vibrations, harshness, or NVH. The big pulley at the front of an engine that turns the drivebelt is called a harmonic balancer. Harmonics are also considered for many of the car’s electrical systems. A typical modern car on the road has over 30 separate computer modules all operating on a sophisticated high-speed computer network. These systems often operate on a very low voltage, so any amount of electrical noise can be quite problematic.

The fundamentals of harmonics extend into the study of light waves, radio waves, ocean tides and waves (Stark, G., 2019), earthquakes, and even gravity waves. Gravity waves, FYI, were finally detected and confirmed in 2016, winning Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, & Barry Barish the Nobel prize (Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017).

All of these fields used Lateral Thinking to apply the concept of harmonics, essentially Music, to allow them to further the knowledge in that particular field. Now, even though this may come as news to many non-scientific fields, and non-scientific listeners, it’s not exactly news within the many fields and subfields of science. Where there are waves, there are harmonics.

You can learn more about lateral thinking and video games in the video we created to better explore the concept with the video game company, Nintendo:

Viable Underdogs (Lateral Thinking & Nintendo)

This style of Lateral Thinking is common among scientific sub-fields. Just like business frameworks are common between various sub-fields of business. Lateral thinking applies to every field, including music…




Check out: “The Story of Maths” documentary for more cool Maths info:

Also check out: “Problem solved! The Great Breakthroughs in Mathematics” by Robert Snedden

Here’s a link to a video I made featuring Lateral Thinking in video games:

More sources on Lateral Thinking:

Ghahramani, A. (2015). Medium. Nintendo’s little-known product philosophy: lateral thinking with withered (weathered) technology.

Johansson, Frans (2004). "The Medici Effect."
(This book calls Lateral Thinking by a different name and a slightly different approach. However, the research is along the same lines).

Neilson, K., (2019). Medium. Lessons from “Range” by David Epstein: The age of the generalist is upon us.

**There are many more sources, particularly ‘Business’ sources on the concept of Lateral Thinking if you search for them.**

Eaton Corporation, (N.D.). Newark. Harmonics in your electrical system.

Math is fun, (N.D.). Math is Fun. Fourier Series.

Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017. Nobel Media AB 2019. Fri. 18 Oct 2019. <>

Stark, G., (2019). Encyclopaedia Britannica. Light

A Seventy Seven Million Dollar Chalk Mark

Viable Underdogs Preface “There are many dubious stories in the history of ideas, and some, despite their improbability, make valid...