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The Innovator’s Dilemma and Miles Davis


April 24, 2012

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Miles Davis can tell us something about innovation

I’ve been thinking about the nature of innovation [Software Innovation: “The Witch is Dead”ERP Innovation – Is that all there is?More innovation please, we’re Canadian! Cheesy Technology “Innovation”].

Clayton Christiensen calls it the Innovator’s Dilemma: reliance on the the status quo prevents many companies from leveraging breakthrough innovation. Innovation disrupts the business model.

This is a lesson from Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe. Miles Davis has some fascinating lessons for business innovation coming from the music business:

“See, if you put a musician in a place where he has to do something different from what he does all the time, then he can do that –but he’s got to think differently in order to do it. He has to use his imagination, be more creative, more innovative; he’s got to take more risks.”

“Those were all young  guys and although they were learning from me, I was learning from them, too, about the new thing…Because to be and stay a great musician you’ve got to always be open to what’s new, what’s happening at the moment.”

“if anyone keeps creating they have to be about change. Living is an adventure and a challenge.”

1959 and Jazz Innovation

As the following embedded videos show, 1959 was the “Jazz 2.0″ (perhaps 3.0 or 4.0) explosion with the recording and release of:

Not to mention the recording of Giant Steps by John Coltrane that was released in 1960. It reminds those of us in technology to innovate, otherwise we’ll be over-innovated.


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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