Blogging returns this week on ChoralNet. First up is Timothy Sharp, the Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association.
This week I return to blogging regularly on ChoralNet, and will be working through my thoughts related to innovation, particularly as the topic relates to our choral mission with the American Choral Directors Association. In my outlook related to our work as choral directors, there are three areas I consider priorities for our time and attention in the 21st century. These areas are mentoring, collaboration, and innovation. I have explored mentoring and collaboration in past blogs, so now I would like to turn my attention to innovation and thinking outside the music box. Our new strength of membership offers ACDA the opportunity to move fast-forward into our choral mission, guided by the promise of innovation.
Before exploring the specific work of innovation, I would like to address the ethics of innovation. I define innovation as the ability to sustain a creative solution to a challenge or problem. I use the word “ethic” because I believe innovation is about the business of doing good. In the realm of technology, innovations come from the pursuit of a better, more effective, or more efficient way of doing something. As I project the innovative work of our professional association, I offer the following framework that guides my thinking and method of evaluation for innovative pursuits. I offer them as consideration to you, as well, as you think about innovation in your own work and pursuits:
Innovation is Collaborative: transformational ideas work across various lines of engagement and benefit from the collaborative power resulting from working through tension and diversity;
Innovation is Sustainable: creativity is fun and interesting, but innovation is sustainable. Sustainability reflects the best use of our resources in the long term;
Innovation is Democratic: sustainable creative ideas come as a result of real people working with real people, not someone engineering something for someone else;
Innovation is Humanistic: addressing challenges through human ingenuity, imagination and entrepreneurialism that can come from anywhere; Innovation is Non-Elitist: ACDA draws ideas from many different sources and will incubate those ideas toward scalable innovation.