Innovation Lessons…from Yanni?

OK, sue me…one of my favorite CDs is Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis. The opening track “Santorini” definitely is on my “at-bat soundtrack!”

Now, I understand that Yanni’s not really all that great a pianist – he’s self-taught. I understand his music is kind of syrupy and shallow and all that. I understand that his other big claim to fame is that his significant other is Linda Evans. But I found this article this morning that talks about the lessons in innovation we can learn from a Yanni performance…

What happens when a Greek pianist tours with a Japanese violinist, a Venezuelan flautist who also plays the ancient Armenian duduk, an Australian digeridoo master, a Chinese keyboardist, a high-octane Puerto Rican percussionist, a street-performing hammer dulcimer player from Tennessee and twenty other solo-quality musicians from various parts of the planet and musical world?

When a diverse group is also passionate about the challenge, energy rises exponentially sucking resources into its vortex and blowing away obstacles. I am now going to refer to this as high-intensity diversity � the weaving together of diversity and passion.

Other lessons from Yanni:

1. Share the spotlight � the Yanni concert seemed like a dozen concerts in one as one star performer after another soloed. Not only did they solo during the concert but the Yanni website features each of the performers with their individual websites and contact information. Democracy in action.

2. Engage multiple senses � the lighting, camera work and giant screen videos that accompanied the music created an abundance of stimulation, drama and energy. Video clips from tours across the world helped transport the audience to a different space.

3. Find talent anywhere � Yanni, a self-taught pianist, found Dan Lundrum, the hammer dulcimer player, performing on the street in Tennessee.

4. Be generous � the Yanni website offers Yanni radio, a continuous offering of his music. He gives it away and the world wants more � I wound up buying a Yanni CD that I had missed as well as CDs from two of his star performers (David Hudson, the digeridoo guy, was truly incredible � but then most of them were).