When SVII was founded in 2005, it was to support Innovators and Innovation Advocates everywhere at all levels. Although founded in Silicon Valley on Sand Hill Road in the Quadrus Center, one of the top tech venture concentration centers in the world, we were interested in supporting the arts as well as technologists and entrepreneurs from the very beginning. Three tag lines we use are variations on the same theme; to turn vision into value, insight into income, and concept into commercialization. This was because having a great idea has never been enough. The idea has to be continually and continuously delivered by a compelling and directed individual to many others in order to get enough traction to prevail. This is just as true for the arts as for business and science. The SVII definition of innovation is simply applied insight. It is a lot easier to have insight than to apply it as anyone possessed of insight rapidly discovers. Resistance to new ideas does not discriminate against particular groups. Pretty much all new ideas are resisted.
Most of my life has been spent with technical and business innovators but in recent years a new group has become close to my heart, composers. In asking composers what their single largest problem was and is, the answer was getting our works performed. This familiar territory is the same as inventors experience – getting someone to use their invention. Or entrepreneurs experience getting someone to pay for their product or service. All three groups also have need of some sort of patronage or investment. During the extended period, these creators are working on getting traction with investors, patrons, audiences, and customers to secure contracts, commissions and outlets they frequently absorb a certain amount of negative feedback while also learning many new skills to communicate about and manage their creations and teams.
An old but still useful concept, especially to creative populations is Group Mind, the notion that the mind of a group is more powerful than the mind of an individual. This is also one of the underlying principles of collaboration. New York seems to have a larger population of composers than technologists so the notion of gathering composers came up, and n0t just any composers, but those with something to say in addition to some works to play, hence the name Keynoting Composers. Think about extended interactive Ted talks occurring within the context of musical works.
Ted talks are great for audiences. As creators are more interested in creating than consuming, they like to be part of an exchange of ideas more than part of an audience. Conversations amongst peers can be inspiring and emotionally supportive and they can be accelerated by conversation starters. Who better to start a conversation than a keynoter, someone who has something to say that inspires dialog. And for composers conversations revolving around musical works that they are composing are hot topics. Or at least that is the theory as we are kicking this off this month.