Crack the Real da Vinci Code

An illustration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man. © Banauke /

An illustration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.                  © Banauke /

The legacy of Leonardo da Vinci is a simple code of behaviour: observe everything.

While many of us don’t have da Vinci’s creative genius, we can easily cultivate his ability to observe the world sharply. Just be sure to park your judgement far away.

When we become used to our surroundings, including friends and family, it’s easy to overlook what’s really going on. We often get caught up in our own stuff and fail to see the big picture.

This lack of perspective brings tunnel vision and hampers our ability to create, never mind generating breakthrough ideas or innovative solutions.

What’s more, it makes problem solving a challenge if our minds are only focused on one part of the problem.

Observation is the key to unlock a problem and see it more fully.

For this reason, many innovative businesses observe customers in their everyday environment such as supermarkets, check in counters or standing in line at the bank, to uncover behaviours and emerging trends which can spark new market opportunities and innovation.

Sharpen your observation skills

Leonardo da Vinci’s goal in observing was to understand the ordinary. And he used his insights to create breakthrough ideas and solutions for problems in anatomy, art, engineering and technology.

His secret was a lust for everyday life, especially nature. He wanted to know things like:

  • Why do dogs sniff each others’ bums?
  • What is water?
  • What does she buy at the market? Why some vegetables and not others?
  • What keeps blood flowing?

You can crack the real da Vinci code by sharpening your observation skills. Start out small:

  • Observe what’s really going on around you
  • Remain silent and suspend your judgment as you observe
  • Change your routine – go a different way home or sit on the other side of the bus
  • Close your eyes as you eat and notice what you taste
  • Touch stuff mindfully and notice any sensations or images
  • Look at your photostream, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. What’s really going on in each photo?
  • Re-discover TV shows you’ve recently watched. What’s different?

You’ll find that cracking the da Vinci code reaps rewards in other areas of your life, not just in creating things.

  • Who or what would you really like to observe? Why?

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