Just back from Northampton having delivered a keynote on the topic of improvisation and innovation. I’m pleased to say that there was a great deal of interest in the topic and the question many people ask me is “How do you plan to improvise?” Indeed one can plan to improvise – in the words of Paul Simon:
“Improvisation is too important to be left to chance”
Before we get started, have a listen to a piece of music I wrote and recorded, which was conceived and created pretty much entirely through improvisation. Initially working alone and then involving my friend and musical collaborator John Howitt, a session musician who has worked with Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey, Anastasia et al.
Somewhat strangely, improvisation relies on discipline if something is to emerge from the process. I’ve summarised some of the principles that I apply when creating from scratch and their parallels in business:
Improvisation is not confined to music. It operates in all other artforms, including photography. We finish with the work of Allisdhair McNuall, improvising photographic artist at Incubation Arts and Ambient Vistas. Allisdhair uses ambient scenery as his inspiration with natural adjustments of his camera to “make the familiar strange”. There is no PhotoShop here. Allisdhair says in true improvisational form “I stumbled across the technique quite by accident and it continues to develop (no pun intended) with each shot I take”. Allisdhair also provides some subtle backdrops to the table above.
About the Blogger: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7725 927585. Check out our online Leadership programme for FREE via The Music of Business Online.