Magnetic flow rainbow planner – THIS one!

Well it serves me right for not doing more evolving of it in my head or on paper!  The devil, they say, is in the details. I’ve also heard that God is in the details. Both sound right. The  aesthetic details versus the practical details – trying to make a thing devilishly practical and divinely beautiful…

So, in that spirit I’ve repainted the story planner to give more graceful rainbow-like curves and more space for the Plan part, and a bit less for the brainstorming parts. I think it’s an improvement..?. The 6 purple curves can be used to arrange the ‘story arcs’ into ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ streams – or just different ones, or different locations in the storyline. And of course I could have coloured these arcs with the 4 phases too – blue to green to yellow to red – but I was already skirting close to visual overload for a planning space, so I didn’t. Perhaps a faint rainbow… But no… now I need to test the functionality of the planner and actually plan the book or drive myself and Raewyn crazy… Yes, Mk I is ready for testing…. I guess…

A stronger light overhead is good. A glare effect in the photo but good in real life. Done by me with time delay and tripod – Raewyn’s at late shift tonight…

magnetic flow rainbow planner 17 2 16

Oh and I bought a bit of magnetic sheet signwriters use for magnetic removable vehicle signs. Strong and bigger sheet so it’s easier to stick on some blackboard vinyl sheet then cut it up into smaller pieces…

Also I find white ‘gel’ pen (waterbased) is good for erasable writing on the blackboard vinyl – this means I can write much more detail on the magnetic labels.

Finally, I’ve updated the phasetimer clock face:

phasetimer 17 2 16

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Magnetic flow rainbow planner

This is better – now with more colour and a glow of colours around the central purple zone.. which I’ll make brighter too, when I get some purple acrylic – it’s hard to mix a bright purple from red and blue.  In use the purple zone space will have a phase/time/chapter flow from bottom left to top to bottom right, and the centre where I’ve put a heart is for the central, is for depiction of the ‘core’ values/themes of the book/project. Note doglet mascot:) Photo courtesy of Raewyn who was called away from apple stewing and other important tasks…



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Magnetic flow rainbow planner

Now operational… Colours in pastel, can seal them when finalised…


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A magnetic project planner

This is the prototype 1200 by 2400mm (4 by 8 foot) in four hinged pieces, magnetic paint (lots of iron oxide in it – bought from Resene’s) under the blackboard black acrylic paint so I can place blackboard-surfaced magnetic sheets on, write on them elements of the book (or any project) and move them around. The centre’s for the purple zone – the emerging book plan – mindmap style; and the left-hand side for blue phase – all facts and observations; the top strip for new ideas and logical consequences; and the right side for to-do notes on what to put in the purple zone. Colours to be indicated by colour of the dividing lines (not yet painted on). Under the appletree in the heat as the black paint dries… More soon, on the construction and my use of it for the book project I am starting.


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New tools at

This is where to go for more current progress and tools for using the process flow. It is new as at 24th sept, 2015. I hope to see you there! The rainbow format is still on the table, just not as immediate as 4phase… click on this link to go to 4phase:

Things are moving and evolving!

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A free desktop flow rainbow graphic

This is the one I’ve put on my desktop – easy to do in Windows XP, which I have, hopefully even easier with Windows 7. Just download to your computer and then load it as the desktop image: go  Start, Control Panel, then Display, then Desktop, then Browse, then click on the jpeg file named rainbow for desktop, and it should appear as your new desktop image, behind your folders. Then order the folders by whether they are mainly ‘inputy’ stuff like internet, photos, search, etc; or new idea type stuff (green), or planning and working out stuff (yellow) or Action stuff, output stuff (red).

You might need to take out some of the subfolders so as to reorder them but this can be worth doing to get more flow in your desktop. Also of course, the purple zone for status quo, totally routine everyday use programs and files.

And the blue outside the rainbow: random files, intrusions as yet undealt with…

You can change the wording at the top in photoshop or similar – sorry that’s what I put on mine… This is a quick prototype of the virtual rainbow. Later to be a whole desktop app – I hope and dream… 🙂

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The invention of the ‘Flow Rainbow’ flowchart

Well I said in an emailed my daughter,  ‘Here’s the ‘elevator pitch’ for the flow rainbow’ (‘flowbow’?), so i began, and it turned into this.  I will write the short one next! Exciting to be finally coming to fruition after going through 20 years and the ‘entire family fortune’ (sorry Anna, Eutopian quests do have their costs and if I’d known…) seeking to ground the vision of that day… (Apologies to the Doc in Back to the future!)

Origins and development so far:

For about 20 years, since my third year at Auckland University doing an MA in philosophy, I’ve been working on a ‘process metaphysics‘ (My thesis (not well received by the rigidly ‘western analytic’ philosophy department of that time) was called ‘Process and Inquiry’ and featured a new diagrammatic analysis of process based mainly on C.S. Peirce‘s ‘Tritism’

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839 – 1914)

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839 – 1914) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

, Murray Munro my reclusive philosopher friend’s ‘hexaholomorphism’ and Robert Pirsig‘s books ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance‘ and ‘Lila‘)

Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

In the last few years I’ve focused on perfecting a form for the ‘process diagram’ which non-philosophers can easily use as a creativity and problem-solving tool in their life, play and work. (The Eutopia game and Wheel of Wisdom game (see the prototypes of the ‘game’ approach I’ve also been trying.)

The ‘Tree of Life‘ form
was good for showing the fractal form of process in a familiar fractal shape – the tree – but the ‘rainbow’ form is more flowing and intuitive for actual use as a flowchart system. It was a time of stress with too much going on in my head, and I made myself a process ‘tree’ in a simplified form, minus the trunk, making a ‘rainbow’ arch around my desktop using glass louvres hinged with cellotape:
My cluttered desk as I write this tonight… (Note the flow rainbow on my computer’s virtual desktop. I use it to order my folders on the desktop. Note also the trial printout of the rainbow on clear film to go into the new clear plastic flowbow.) I have found my prototype great for getting more strategic with my own convoluted, constantly evolving work/creation flows. I use Postit notes which I move around the five colour zones of the rainbow from blue  (input) on the left through Green and Yellow (Novelty and Reaction/planning) to Red (output) on the right, to Purple (status quo) in the middle. (The flowbow’s colours go left to right instead of up and down like a normal rainbow)
The concentric lines of the flowbow represent the levels of the projects being worked on – the lower are more ‘survival’ status quo processes, the outer band where the main colour are, is your ‘rainbow level’ – highest aspirational work. So at a glance you can see where your postit notes are clustering, and take action to keep them in balance level-wise as well as processing-wise. (Now I have a flowbow to fit around a computer screen which is ultra-simple – a curved two-layer semicircle of clear flexible plastic that you can bend to suit – and unbend.)
After using it for a bit I realised that if I made each colour zone of the flowbow a different length to reflect the proportion of each process ‘zone’ in my own ‘natural working style’, this would be a constant reminder to tailor my life and work around the energies I really have available for the different phases of work, and play to my strengths in a totally strategic way. I had my profile done in the Kathy Kolbe system, and it was quite revelatory and liberating, but the process metaphysics adds a huge amount to that system, which is essentially a static profiling and doesn’t map the relationships of the different zones or phases of process (and the relationships between the different people who ‘inhabit the different zones). Her system has four colour groups which are quite like my four, minus the Purple status quo and with (unfortunately) the red and blue interchanged.
Seeing how powerful an individually profiled flowbow is, I am now going to write a profiling questionnaire so people can find out their natural process style and get their own customised rainbow printout (perhaps with their logo or other relevant graphics, and the names of the main phases of process in their particular line of work) on acetate film which they then slip between the layers of the desktop flowbow. They could order a general printout for work, some special project ones, one for personal life, etc.
The general instructions will be free with the flowbow, but there will be short ebooks and videos for particular applications, such as essay/book/report writing, product development, brainstorming, marketing, self-improvement, etc. Follow this blog by email and see the offerings which (I trust) are coming very soon!

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A breakthrough for workflow organisation

Flow Rainbows are the culmination of many years of thinking about and making models and diagrams of PROCESS – the way complex things change, evolve, develop. The rainbows are the most intuitive way I have found to order the flow of my own life and work process.  Watch this space!


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