Innovation as Jazz

“Jazz is a conversation that is comfortable with uncertainty and new knowledge,” said John Kao at the ASTD conference keynote session last week.

Jazz, he says, is a metaphor for innovation – where you need a combination of improvisation and discipline.

“If you play just to what’s on the sheet of music in front of you, you’re limiting your options. Jazz musicians have a different mission – to go new ways with the music and create new notes and moments.”

The freedom found in the limitations creates the magic.

Develop the basic skills needed to play the notes – build your capacity first, set the ground rules, set the target – but realize that the real innovation happens in the space between that structure and the unknown.


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