It was in mid-May 2016 when a speaker at a symposium with following sentences got me out of my latent attention deficit.
“Do something you´ve never done before,” “If you want to follow new, innovative ways, if you want to be ready for VUCA world, then you have to learn to think and act in new ways. “
We believe that in today’s dynamic, digital times we see, learn and do so many new and different things, but basically, we think and act very often in well-established patterns and ways. When was the last time I did something completely new, something that I had never done before?
I decided that day to learn and start cooking or making music. Both were skills that I had not yet mastered in any way.
Another speaker who described resilience finally reinforced my impulse to start making music. He put his five fingers with the tips on the floor and symbolized the firm, stable position of a table. The thumb stood for family, the index finger for friends, the middle finger for work, the ring finger for hobbies and the little finger for humor. Many people overlook the fact that they are only standing on 3 table legs with family, work and a few friends – if one component is missing, they fall over. Many people forget to pursue a hobby and lose personal resilience – while having fun you could also harvest a source of agility and combinatorics (as I later found out).
Where have all my hobbies gone?
The tennis rackets and the skis gathered dust in the corner and the fact that I had even written and played cabaret programs at a young age was now as far away as my original sense of humor.
With August 2016 the time had come and I visited a small music studio in Vienna. It was wonderful, a new old world that I could rediscover. New, because until then I had absolutely nothing to do with making music (I hadn’t even played the flute in school, nor could I read notes). Old, because suddenly the child in me appeared again. I literally slipped out of my frozen form and my body began to vibrate with the beat and the close-up live voices in the studio. I was in the here and now – I was in the flow, trying to communicate with my hands and feet with the somewhat desperate sound engineer and studio owner. It was almost like playing digitally with Lego on a large display – the beat line at the bottom in blue, then the chord blocks in green, then a bass track in black and on top the melody. I felt young again.
The music industry is a pioneer in digital disruption – from records to current streaming on demand – a perfect, complementary study object for digital transformations. Everything that can be digital, will get digital, dematerialized and somehow optimized. Back to the studio.
After 3 hours of discussion with the studio owner, who was also a senior music teacher and explained to me several times why it doesn’t work the way I imagined – a little desperation arose. “You don’t build a house from top to bottom and it would certainly be good if you learn at least to play one instrument”, he advised me. But that was all decidedly too boring for me – especially since I had tasted digital blood and had seen what was already possible with hybrid, technology-supported working methods in music production. That’s why I decided to spent 3000 euros and thus help a little in the music studios mindset. The sound engineer turned out to be a good translator and mediator between me and the music teacher and so – after 3 months and many hours in the studio – I was proud to present my first après-ski song to the public. The title made it to a sampler promotion tour in all German-speaking ski huts and to a live performance in front of 800 people in Vienna’s hippest club at the time.
April 2018 – I noticed that my thinking and acting had changed permanently when I prequalified the next potential candidates for my business development team with HR. “What, do you want to interview this candidate? The HR colleague looked at me in disbelief. I enjoyed the song project so much that I started other projects – e.g. a soccer song in Spanish with a Cuban singer. The artist was extremely unreliable and difficult to manage, but when he was in a good mood I got results in 20 minutes that I couldn’t get within weeks from other artists. The next candidate I choose for the digital business team was a typical millennial, sunny, chilled, thinking out of the box someone who arrived typically two hours later. Someone who immediately got into discussion with a senior sales manager about his jeans style (he usually comes straight from the subway to the office on a skateboard), but was immediately accepted as a trusted digital advisor by customers. The artist and the song project changed my way of judging people and understanding and managing dynamic, innovative projects. I also became more confident about new situations and decisions professionally – I trusted my rediscovered creativity. I no longer took differences in opinions so personally and learned to deal better with people who think and act differently in the company. I saw new patterns and parallels between companies and industries and combined more, which led to targeted digitization solutions for my customers.
In February 2019, I started my first AI supported hybrid song project “Gray Days Gone”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrsGLRpVzdQ
Meanwhile, equipped with my own small home studio – consisting of one iMac, a digital interface and a microphone, I built the sound base in 10 minutes. Using a plug and digital algorithms, I created the beat, chords, bass and melody in a hybrid way (that had taken several weeks in the studio until then). For mixing & mastering I used “Fiverr”, a digital micro-service platform that connected me with an exceptional talent in Los Angeles. I shot the video with my new smartphone, which had 4 built-in cameras and was able to record 4k video material including depth of field shots. For worldwide distribution I used a digital record label called “tunecore” which distributed the song to all well-known digital stores (such as Apple & Amazon Music, Spotify and Co.) within a few days. The entire production process had accelerated exponentially. Unfortunately, so did the number of released titles, which probably barely prevented my conquest of the international charts. I was able to internalize the hybrid way of working between a man and a machine in a multidimensional way and, thanks to the exponential digital possibilities, I managed to get an even better idea of what to expect in other areas. Why not use this hybrid way of working and this gain in efficiency even more in other areas – for example in the office? The services should follow the office user and the processes should flow efficiently through the entire building and organization.
In the meantime I have established a cooperation between a leading IT and furniture company and together we have created completely new office services.
In 2021 we will present smart room and furniture concepts that create added value for employees and company driven by hybrid interaction between information technology, furniture and a new way of working.