By Francesca Ripple
Yesterday I watched a video that went viral and I thought to myself, “Now, that’s innovation!” I might be the only person out of 6 million people who saw this impromptu jam session as an analogy for innovation, but here is why.
Innovation is all about unexpected combinations and collaborations that can create new value. We are often asked by people who visit us at the Center For Innovation how to create and foster innovation; how can they replicate the secret sauce? And while we can create the spaces and the opportunities that support innovation, it’s the magic of the creatives – the people – that makes all the difference. The guitarist, Jese Raya, was just ‘doing his thing’ (as he usually does) when unexpectedly a passerby heard something that inspired him to stop and collaborate.
Thankfully, he was brave enough to try. You can see how this ‘first collaborator’ gently coaxed his way in without saying a word. Through the subtlest of gestures he conveyed he was there to enhance the music and join. Jamie kept playing, indicating it was ok for him to jump in.
Without saying a word, they began to build on what each other was doing – amplifying the collective effort. The first collaborator slowly began to layer his beautiful vocals and rhythm to the song, and at the 1:50 mark, you can see the ‘second collaborator’ coming along – completely unexpected and unknown to the other two – but clearly possessing an open mind and open heart needed for innovation. He possessed the creative confidence to see what he could add to the pairing. A glance was all it took and all of a sudden he was 100% in, riffing off of the two and taking this little jam to the next level. Something was truly happening here!
In no time the three collaborators were completely in sync amplifying what Jamie had started – creating new value and a whole new experience for the observers, and all of us on the side lines now in social media.
This is where the humanity of it all comes in – the impact of this innovative moment. What have over 6 million viewers shared by watching and experiencing this moment in time? Why does this video go viral, while other things never do? Because the common experiences we all share have no boundaries.
Joy and happiness is something we can all relate to, and we all can use more of it everyday. The spontaneity of the strangers is something many of us (myself included) want to also experience and embrace. Who doesn’t want to live n a world where you can jam out with complete strangers?
These three participants all possessed something more of us need: a willingness to suspend judgment and see where something will go. Let’s just call that what it is: experimentation, and a little bit of playfulness. In this case experimentation and playfulness, combined with a willingness to fail, led to something very special indeed. I hope you also enjoy this video, and I’d like to thank you gentlemen, for bringing me an innovative moment of joy today.
–Francesca Ripple is the public affairs communications manager at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation in Rochester, MN.