Soundings: ‘Around the World’ in rather less than eighty days

by MichaelSpencer on Monday 5th of September 2011

July and August were particularly busy times for Sound Strategies.  Just when the rest of the world seemed to be focussing on summer vacations we were gearing up for an eclectic mix of a activities around the globe.

Our regular long-term commitment is to Japan.  This year was given added poignancy by the incidents that took place in March.  We were speaking at a branding event in Switzerland when news of the earthquake was announced and it couldn’t have made for a more chilling comparison to watch the tsunami approach in real time whilst talking on Skype with friends and colleagues in the Tohoku region.

On returning to the UK we helped set up Play for Japan, an organisation helping to co-ordinate and promote fund-raising events.  Google were kind enough to give us a video channel and it proved to be one of our most effective promotional tools.  Particularly helpful was an interview given to us by Lord Melvyn Bragg.

Through Play for Japan we were able to forge links between orchestras and the NPO Living Dreams, which is spearheading work in the orphanages.  We ran their first joint music project with children from the affected region, and it looks as if things are well in place for continuing into the future.

Mori Art Museum The rest of our work involved conferences and workshops throughout Japan.  It was inspiring to collaborate with the Mori Bijutsukan (Mori Art Museum) in a project that took place in the heart of their Marcel Duchamp Prize ‘French Window’ Exhibition looking out across Tokyo from the 52nd floor.  We finished the trip at the National Training Centre for Fuji Electric and worked with a large group of their engineers on a programme designed to stimulate ideas for the development of new products.

Prior to Japan we participated in an intriguing conference held by the University of Duisberg-Essen in the spectacular industrial mining complex of Zollverein; now a European Heritage site.  They have been overseeing a 3-year research project looking at organisational complexity through the lense of avant-garde jazz and architectural patterning theory.  Leading practitioners, academics and industrialists from around the world participated, and it was a particular joy to work alongside the jazz vibraphone virtuoso Christopher Dell.

Immediately following Japan we passed through Lausanne in order to speak at the Lac Leman Communications and Leadership Conference, held by the Università Svizzera italiana where we spoke about the hidden internal functional dynamics of orchestras which drive them to become high performing teams.

September will see us in Shanghai working in collaboration with Creativity at Work and BASF and the year’s travel plans, so far, will close with a visit to Geneva to speak at the invitation of the World Wildlife Fund for their first International TEDx conference.

So, time soon to start planning for next year’s travels.

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