The key to 21st-century innovation: CONTROL your OPENNESS and FOCUS. The case of Keith Jarrett at the Cologne concert – the best-selling piano piece of all time.

By Prof. Yesha Y. Sivan, Founder & CEO, i8 Ventures. Visiting Professor of innovation and venture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School

“What are the key qualities of 21st leadership?” Well, my usual answer is – the ability to master change. A follow-up question is “ok, mastering change – but how?” and my answer – and this is after distilling more than 30 years of individual, organizational, and national lessons – the ability to control openness and focus.

A paragon example of this is the 1975 telling story of Keith Jarrett and Vera Brandes, which led to the most popular Piano concert ever – the Cologne (KÖLN) concert.

It all started with the fact that Jarrett decided not to play. The piano presented to him was small and far from what he had ordered, missing some of its keys, and out of tune. Jarrett was after a few hours drive, hungry and tired. Frustrated, he informed the organizer, Vera Brandes, that he could not perform.

Brandes was astonished. But, in a focused move, she persuaded Jarrett to play anyway. Jarrett, with impressive openness, agreed. With great willpower he focused and played the three parts of the work for over an hour – all by heart, using the inferior piano which, undoubtedly, made the unique performance.

And how does this relate to me (and you?) So – since 2014, I’ve been researching the subject of focus and openness. I have concluded that both qualities are critical for the 21st century – in the age of messy, fast, and global.

Moreover, can these qualities be taught in such a way that creates impact, in a relatively short amount of it?

My answer: the Orange Bike Mind Workshop. It is intended for senior executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and for anyone who wants to endow themselves with being more focused, more open, and especially able to control these two opposite qualities.

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