Jazz & Collaboration

"Jamming Together": A new Art of Collaboration in VUCA times

We face system issues that require "system solutions". In others words: true collaboration and collective intelligence versus the serious risk of Collective Stupidity.
That requires us to really shift from an - often unconscious and implicit - paradigm of "top Down command and control" to a new one.
We need new glasses to look at this world and liberate the capacities required to build a better one together!
This is why, in 2010, based on years of practice as strategic advisors AND as Jazz musicians, we created a unique workshop called "Jazz as a metaphor of the Art of collaboration".
It uses Jazz as a Metaphor of the Art of Collaboration and Innovation. This workshop, based on a live concert, demonstrates how Focus and Freedom can successfully replace Control and Command to enable Agility and true Collective Intelligence.

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The Collaboration imperative
Moving from Silos to Combos (combination of Musicians)
We are moving from a "Vertical" world based on
  • Centralisation
  • Topdown power of control
  • Silos and separation: lose lose system, poor integration
  • Exploitation  of the known
  • Economies of Scale and linear approaches
  • Competition, fear and win lose approaches
  • Efficiency and replicability
  • ownership of Product
to a "Lateral" world
based on
  • Hubs and network, Distribution (of info, ideas, energy) and sharing
  • Focus and freedom
  • Collaboration and integration
  • Customisation, Exploration of the new
  • Economies of scope and circular approaches
  • win win collaboration and trust
  • Agility and resiliency
  • access to Service, solutions and systems

Pyramids are replaced by Hubs and NET-WORKS that work.
Silos need to become "Combos", i.e. collaborative ecosystems of Partners creating sustainable Value chains which deliver Prosperity.
A new Art of Collaboration is needed to get talented people to work creatively and effectively as teams and networks, cross-silos, cross-cultures, cross-disciplines and cross-sectors.
The issue is how to focus and motivate people at all levels to put their Minds on key issues and to initiate solutions designed not only to improve but also to reinvent and transform processes.

True Creative Collaborative Intelligence is needed

How can we make the "mayonnaise" that will lead to the creation of new Knowledge and Value, thus true Collective Intelligence ?
What can be done to avoid the serious risk of Collective Stupidity and all the traps that lead to that: Ego, lack of Listening and of Dialogue, absence of Shared Focus, Territorial Conflicts, fights for Positions and difficulties to change Perspectives, lack of Imagination, Competition, Fear of Losing etc.

Jazz as the Perfect Metaphor
The Symphony Orchestra connotes
  • Pre-scripted musical scores, everyone looking at "his specific score" (Violins, cellos,horns, etc.)
  • Single conductor as Leader
  • "Top Down" control system
  • No improvisation
The Jazz Combo embodies
  • Shared musical orientation, Minimum structures that allow for maximum Flexibility and Creativity
  • Replacing Ego by Alter Ego in a Peer Culture
  • Taking turn soloing, supporting and swinging together
  • Creativity in real time through improvisation

A Jazz "Combo" is the perfect metaphor of the new Art of Collaboration which is so deeply needed in this new world.
It allows for a better way to look at our turbulent time than the symphonic orchestra image.
Jazz is much more in sync with our turbulent times than the Symphony Orchestra. It symbolizes the Art of Collaboration. It is the living embodiment of the principles at work in organizations that are performant, innovative, inspiring, adaptative, resilient, able to accept risk and navigate on an ocean of uncertainties.
It offers a metaphor which makes it possible to switch from "silos" to "combos", from the Vertical world of "Command and Control" to the Collaboration models of the Horizontal world.

Our Jazz & Collaboration workshop: an exclusive, concrete and living experience

Our "Jazz & Collaboration Workshop" invites you to take part in an exclusive, concrete and living experience, with a commented Live concert, designed to transform the participants mindsets and approaches.
Our workshop illustrates on the one hand the theoretical links which exist between Jazz and organizations and on the other hand, demonstrates those links through a "live" concert given by a combo reuniting 4 of Belgium's top musicians plus Jean-Louis on the bass.
This live module's objective is to enable the audience

  • to discover and feel a new Art of Collaboration based on Focus and Freedom, active Listening, Improvisation and Creativity within a structure;
  • to understand how to apply and practice it in a Business Environment for enhanced     performance and enjoyment.
The origin

For years, we have been helping organizations and teams invent and implement their Future. This activity always proceeds through the creation of ecosystems of partners engaged in collaborative, joyful and trustful Thinking and Experimentation.

A few years ago, Jean-Louis - who is a renown and appreciated amateur Jazz double bass player (he has recorded several albums and played with the best musicians including Toots Thielemans with whom he recorded the "Demo for singers" acetate of "Bluesette" in New York back in 1964 - and Aline (who loves Jazz) put their talents together to develop a workshop based of the principles of Jazz and designed to transmit this original Art of Collaboration in an original and "live" way.

It works!

We tested our workshop for the first time in 2011 with a group of 70 researchers coming from different organizations and working on common projects. And several times after that with groups composed of a variety of specialists, highly interdependent and belonging either to the same organization or to different ones.
Every time, results were impressive.
One of our fondest memories is when our workshop was selected as opening event of the Summer University of a large international group, gathering the most promising 120 young people from all over the world.
We also closed the event, but this time only the two of us, in order to gather the participants' impressions on the impact the Jazz Module had had on their performances during the week. We were moved by all the signs of appreciation we received, including taps on the back, hugs, applauses, thumbs up, whistles etc.
We also got comments like: "Without the Jazz metaphor, we would never had been able to "play" so well together through the various sessions of the week. Thank you" etc.


The workshop is made of 3 happenings over a one-day period (8 hours).

1.     Listening, Discovering, Understanding, Appreciating and Interacting
  • Mini theoretical explanations
  • Live performance of a Jazz Combo (combination of musicians) to demonstrate a variety of possibilities
2.     Connecting and Learning by Induction: group work
  • What the metaphor teaches us about collaboration, improvisation, Creativity and     Innovation
  • Connections and parallels
3.     Integrating and apply: Group session and feedback
  • How to apply these principles (soloing and supporting, peering, minimal structures, improvisations, etc.) in the specific context of a team or an organization
  • What changes to implement in order to create suitable conditions for improved performances and heightened shared pleasure at work?
Contact us to organise a customized session
Discover more

Listen to an episode of the Shapership Podcast in which Jean-Louis talks about Jazz as a form of miracle of human relations.

MediaRead an article on the subject in our blog

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You are welcome to make contact if you wish to have a conversation and meet us. We are friendly, funny, informal and professional!

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