Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Voices Of Innovation

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

The just less than two million or so views for Eric Whitacre’s original Virtual Choir (2010) on YouTube are respectable but perhaps not necessarily overly impressive. In an online world where Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” YouTube video has more than 30 million views (and oddly the audio-only version has over 57 million views), it might seem that a couple million views for a music video is really not that big a deal. What makes the Virtual Choir pretty amazing though is that its members contributed to the project virtually - 243 tracks representing 185 different voices from 12 countries. The choir never actually got together, but managed to sing together. The song was “Lux Aurumque”. Have a listen.

The effort behind the original Virtual Choir was pretty impressive. But Eric Whitacre, with the help of a few thousand contributors from throughout the world, are looking to top it. On Thursday April 7, 2011 Virtual Choir 2.0 premieres at the Paley Center for Media in New York. A talk by Eric Whitacre will be followed by the unveiling of the Virtual Choir 2.0 video - which represents 2051 videos from 58 countries. The choir never actually got together, but managed to sing together. The song is “Sleep”.
If you can’t make it to the Paley Center for Media in New York on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. ET, then take a look at the live stream on the Paley website the night of.

This virtual choir is I think a pretty good example of and metaphor for innovation.  For innovation is often about taking part in something larger than oneself. In order to do and create great things, we need to feel (and be) connected to one another. Innovation in isolation is largely the exception these days. It’s about community.   And it doesn't really matter whether we find ourselves together physically.

(I can’t help think I may simply be preaching to the choir.)
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C. Engdahl is the founder of Big E Toys and creator of several successful specialty boardgames. He is also the principle of Big E Insights, a consultancy that helps organizations make sense of consumer and competitive landscapes.

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