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Yesterday we welcomed the on-and offline magic school Abracademy into our studio for the next few months as a ‘start-up in residence’. What the hell are we up to?

The simple answer is “embedded magicians” — and having a bunch of incredibly talented magicians around the place is absolutely frikkin’ awesome. They’ve already taught us how to make pens disappear ffs!

We think it will add an enchanting new dimension to our studio culture and we’re keen to experiment with magic in workshops and client meetings — it’s a brilliant way to get people thinking differently and more creatively.

Abracademy teach magic to businesses and children to “help them become extraordinary”. The process of inventing new tricks and performing magic is all about innovation and experience design, and it’s a highly iterative and experimental method of problem solving through cycles of making, testing and learning. It requires empathy and an understanding of psychology. Like, all of that’s exactly what we do too!

It’s such an exciting time to be doing this. Magic itself is changing: it’s no longer about a bunch of secretive, smelly old blokes who might rip your tongue out if you tell anyone how a trick works. A new generation of younger magicians like Dynamo have taken magic into the street, and magicians like Penn and Teller — who got thrown out of The Magic Circle for revealing how tricks were done have put wizardry within reach. And of course YouTube has made it more shareable and accessible than eversomething to do, and not just watch.

Abracademy are very much part of this movement to democratise magic and make it participatory. That’s why we’re so thrilled to be learning from them, and to have them work in our space every day.

We can learn so much from magic.

Magic’s always been seen from an audience perspective, but we think magic can do more as an empowering tool for people performing it.

Rubens Filho - Director of Spells at Abracademy

Expect to hear more about this exciting new adventure. We’ll be sharing our experiences with the Abracademy team, who are Alex Pittas — Head of Magic, Rubens Filho — Director of Spells, Katie Jackson — Chief of Wow, and Robert de Wilde — Rabbit in a Hat.

Expect conjuration, sorcery, illusion, hocus pocus and sleight of hand. Nothing will ever be the same again. Do you think they can they make a dog disappear?

Tim Malbon

Tim Malbon Founding Partner

Tim founded influential digital product design company Made by Many in 2007. He’s a leading voice in the emerging practice area of product design and innovation, customer experience and business strategy. He’s the Webby Awards UK Ambassador and a member of the IADAS, and was recently named by Creative Review as one of the 50 Creative Leaders "driving change, not just within their organisation but in the world at large."

@malbonster

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