What happens when a Greek pianist tours with a Japanese violinist, a Venezuelan flautist who also plays the ancient Armenian duduk, an Australian digeridoo master, a Chinese keyboardist, a high-octane Puerto Rican percussionist, a street-performing hammer dulcimer player from Tennessee and twenty other solo-quality musicians from various parts of the planet and musical world?
What happens? Yanni happens and a high energy blend of music and video transports audiences to a place of beauty and spirit.
Principle of Innovation
Last night the Yanni tour touched down in Bakersfield and crystallized for me a principle of innovation – high-intensity diversity. We have talked about the importance of diversity on many occasions and I believe it is one of the key drivers of innovation. Anytime you get a group with different perspectives, talents, skills, experiences and thinking styles collaboratively focused on a common objective, new possibilities will emerge. However, the Yanni concert dramatically modeled another piece – passion. When a diverse group is also passionate about the challenge, energy rises exponentially sucking resources into its vortex and blowing away obstacles. I am now going to refer to this as high-intensity diversity … the weaving together of diversity and passion.
Other lessons from Yanni:
- Share the spotlight – the Yanni concert seemed like a dozen concerts in one as one star performer after another soloed. Not only did they solo during the concert but the Yanni website features each of the performers with their individual websites and contact information. Democracy in action.
- Engage multiple senses – the lighting, camera work and giant screen videos that accompanied the music created an abundance of stimulation, drama and energy. Video clips from tours across the world helped transport the audience to a different space.
- Find talent anywhere – Yanni, a self-taught pianist, found Dan Lundrum, the hammer dulcimer player, performing on the street in Tennessee.
- Be generous – the Yanni website offers Yanni radio, a continuous offering of his music. He gives it away and the world wants more – I wound up buying a Yanni CD that I had missed as well as CDs from two of his star performers (David Hudson, the digeridoo guy, was truly incredible … but then most of them were).
Regardless of your taste in music, Yanni is a role model for innovation and I will consider the price of the tickets an investment in my education. (Whether the IRS will or not, of course, is a different story!)
Favorite Yanni quote:
"I want you to remember one more thing: Every great thing
that has ever happened to humanity since the beginning has
begun as a single thought in someone's mind. And, if any of
us is capable of such a great thought, then all of us have
the same capacity because we're all the same."
-- Yanni, "Live at the Acropolis"