I was lucky enough to share a glass of wine with Frank last week, although unlucky to miss his performance (you may know he is a professional jazz musician as well as an AI / Organizational expert). In “Creativity and Improvisation in Jazz and Organizations: Implications for Organizational Learning,” a 1998 article, he notes that the following features of jazz improv are helpful to us org design mortals …
- Interrupt habits
- Embrace errors as a source of learning
- Allow maximum flexibility through minimal structures
- Continually negotiate toward dynamic synchronicity
- Rely on retrospective sense making
- Be a member of a Community of Practice
- Alternate between soloing and supporting
Now, I know how to interrupt, and I have to face a lot of my own (and other people’s errors). But it seems to me that “alternating between soloing and supporting” may be the real magic. And being a “member of a community of practice” is a pretty close second. Check out Etienne Wenger….
Perhaps that is why Frank and I talked also about the legendary Cream (who are briefly reuniting at the Albert Hall next week – and we failed to get tickets!). Can you remember the 60’s?