Jazzcode is a concert/presentation held by Carl Størmer and a jazz band, typically put together for each venue. Carl, who has been traveling around the world with this presentation and has written a case about Miles Davis for the Harvard Business School, explains how jazz musicians are able to come together and play without having played together or even met before,  largely because they listen to each other, have shared references, and adhere to a pretty strict pattern in how they play through a piece. Carl, very effectively, uses the metaphor of a jazz band to illustrate certain principles and requirements for collaboration in teams.

Today I had the great fortune of attending a private JazzCode concert in Oslo, the band consisting of Carl (drums), Georg "Jojje" Wadenius (guitar), Rob Waring (vibraphone) and Edvard Askeland (base). Though I suspect this concert was heavier on the music and lighter on the management thinking – half the audience was volunteers of the Oslo Jazz Festival – I can easily see how this approach can be both an entertaining and instructing part of a company retreat or meeting.

I saw the show with my father-in-law, Ludvig Mathiesen, who in addition to everything else was Norwegian Champion of Amateur Jazz in 1956, playing the piano. For me it was an introduction to jazz – and that, I suppose, is the added benefit of having JazzCode at your event: A helping of culture with the managerial pointers.

Highly recommended.

1 thought on “Jazzcode

  1. Carl Stormer

    Thank you Espen for the summary. I always try to tailor our performance to the audience and the context. This is in itself one of the key messages of the JazzCode — context is King! My speech is improvised, and thus I can easily adjust to the context. With more hard-nosed business audiences I focus more on the key guidelines — how to make improvisations more predictable, how to build optimal teams for improvisational settings, how to build shared references (and with it, trust) etc. Colin Powell’s quote from New York Times recently (about McCain vs. Obama) sums it up nicely: “Experience is important, but judgment is what matters.”. Thanks for sharing. Carl

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