Just recently I listened to the “Don’t Panic” episode of Shankar Vendantam’s npr Hidden Brain series. The episode is about chaos and why it makes sense to embrace it sometimes instead of trying to fight it.  One section of the podcast was part of an interview with Tim Harford. He talked about a transformative Jazz concert that was performed by Jazz legend Keith Jarrett on a (more or less) unplayable piano. The recorded concert turned into the best selling Solo Jazz album of all times. The story is also available as a TED Talk on “How frustration can us make more creative“.

The anecdote made me realise why I enjoy doing what I do, so much…

Each of my projects is like a playing an instrument for the first time

Finding the right way to create real internal or external impact through digital is like creating a piece of music on an instrument I’ve never played before. It is necessary to master the basics but it’s imperative to really understand the specifics at hand to substantially influence the results delivered. This holds true regardless of whether it’s music or success in digital transformation.

In the interview and in his TED Talk, Tim Harford talks about the state of the piano that Keith Jarrett had to use: a harsh upper register, sticky keys, pedals that didn’t work. Against all odds, Keith was able to produce a piece of music that made history. Leaning on his experience, passion and will power he overcame the obstacles and delivered the proof that unfavourable conditions do not prevent success.

Now, I am definitley not a genius like Keith, and am I not implying that all companies I work for are broken. But I’ve definitely learned how to identify the areas that are “out of tune”, the parts of an organisation that require a little more “push” and the functions that are best worked around for now.

With my experience in combination with the expertise and insight of the client’s project team we have always been able to adapt the standard or “best practice” to the reality. We have moved stratospheric visions closer to the earth and come up with a way to move forward that harmonises with the people and the organisation. Together we’ve delivered a symphony of actions and created something tangible – something that executive and operational stakeholders could buy into.

My personal key learning: I enjoy the challenge of writing for an orchestra who may be missing their first violin

I even prefer it. I don’t seek to deliver a picture perfect digital world in mock-ups and business cases. My passion is not to look 15 years into the future and pave an idealistic way forward based on trends, innovation and disruption.

Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that all of the above is necessary, to create momentum for change.

My role however, is rather more “down to earth”. I love to pick up where the visionaries have left off, tighten the strings to help them play in tune again. I enjoy looking at the imperfections, the discord and finding the best way possible, together with the people that know their organisation, to create a concerto.

So, if you feel that your organisation is a little “out of tune”, I am happy to come in and play some Jazz… (not literally though…because it’s one of my unfulfilled dreams to play an instrument)

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