Event Snippet: use music & improvisation to drive innovation @ d.event 2018

What inspired me the most? This is a rapid debrief of just one aspect of an event that we participated in. It’s the session that inspired us the most, that made us think: yes, this trip was worth my time. Food for thought.

I participated in d.event in May 2018, the international design thinking conference at d.school Paris, and felt really inspired by the musical performance of Rod C. Taylor.

A friend of mine (Pierre, I think you know it’s you) told me about it already last year, Rod had also performed at d.event 2016. I had a hard time to really understand how a music group on stage of an innovation conference could really add value, except the entertainment. This has nothing to do with innovation methods, no?

This time round I was curious to see “Design thinking and music” on the program, still being sceptic. 45 minutes later I got it: I can now see the added value for corporate innovation and creativity. There is a structured program behind the session, a clear framework, taking you on a thought journey how to unleash the creative potential in a team.

Music, Innovation & Improvisation

It’s about combining music, innovation and improvisation. You take the team along various steps in the process, such as creating a “safe place” to work, an environment where you don’t fear to fail:

  • An innovation mindset is expected
  • Improvisation is valued
  • Egos are left at the door
  • Failure (small scale) is OK!

How do you create the creative journey?

  • Build upon what we already know
  • Embrace the journey (the failures and the successes)
  • Be fearless (but not reckless)

Guests in the audience participated in the improvisation as they had to

  • Provide key words for the singer to write a text
  • A few chords, in this case they came up with: A F C B
  • An arrangement

In the video you can see & hear the result of a group of musicians that did not play together before. If you just watch the video, you might not understand the power of the approach. You need to follow the way the improvisation has to be constructed (the journey) to see the relevance in innovation. The journey made me understand it and inspired me. Thanks for that Rod.

If you want to learn more about Rod C. Taylor (here on LinkedIn) and Performance Learning Concepts, please look here. Rod is from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. He is working with companies like Nissan North America, Deloitte Global or Stanford University – not always with music so.


Maike Strudthoff

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