Monday, 5 January 2009

Jazz, management and squelchers

As I've been thinking in idle moments about the dissertation I must write this year for my management diploma, I've been learning as usual from Radio 4 and although you can't download a podcast you can just still listen to the programme about Jazz and management here.

John Kao is one of the world's leading experts on corporate change. In a disarming programme recorded at his grand piano in San Francisco, "Mr Creativity" shows Peter Day how jazz improvisation can help companies learn how to innovate.
"There’s the kind of left brain issues of articulating the narrative, establishing the strategy, figuring out the action plan. Then there’s the right brain agenda : how does that society learn how to jam, to improvise in the right way by balancing several contradictory imperatives … to make the music sound good."

Then listening to this week's In Business I heard lots of things about how great cities are for innovative well managed organisations and heard the term "squelchers" for the first time. Those are the people who won't let positive change happen, who want to hold on to separate cafeterias for the upper management and their key to the executive toilet. Very intersting, also becuase it was also about how cities are beginning to win out over suburbia these days - a link between management and architecture.

Inspired by the wonderful writings on the vitality of the urban neighbourhood of his fellow American the late Jane Jacobs, Richard Florida has long been looking at cities through the eyes of what he calls the creative classes.
In particular he is fascinated by the way that edgy bohemian areas produce interesting urban developments : colonies of artists at the cutting edge of change.
This has widespread application to business activity.

Companies should learn from the cities they have fled from. As the chaos and complexity experts tell you, the most interesting things happen on the edge. That’s where the life is.

Much to ponder as I go back to work.