Unpluging and Inspiration from a performer — Vance Joy lessons

I spend so much of my time learning that I often miss opportunities to learn.

It feels as though my days are consumed with learning about innovation ecosystems, startups and entrepreneurs, research theory and methods, software development techniques, business management practices, and video blogging tools and techniques. I am envious of the efficiency portrayed in the matrix where Neo plugs a jack into the back of his head and within seconds can say “I know kung fu”.

Without a head port of my own, my own cable is very manual and lofi. Much of my time is spent sitting in front of a screen or having a face to face conversations swapping information between screens and brains. That said, I do occasionally “unplug”.

A few months ago I made an impulse purchase for a couple of Vance Joy tickets. Spotify got me, clicking on the events tab on a whim, and digging a tune so much I wanted to get as close to the music as possible. The convenient concert “Buy now” button seemed like a logic choice to make that happen.

Months later the date of the concert rolls up. I have a lot on my plate, but decide to go anyways to step away from research tour planning and ecosystem mapping for an evening.

Going on tour

I am working through a few big challenges at the moment. One is the practicalities of a national innovation tour and mechanics of regular sharing about the progress. I often think how much easier it would be if I were to just go offline, collect data, submit my PhD report, and go to the next thing. However, this would not get the additional outcomes I feel can be achieved of awareness and connection of innovation activity across the nation.

What is my workflow for information capture and promotion? How will I create separate channels for information for the PhD and that for immediate public consumption? What is the underlying narrative and position? How will over 60 cases tie together in a seamless story that people can grasp, while also benefiting the academic and policy communities?

Sometimes wrestling with questions leads to getting wrapped up in knots. It’s when you set them down and allow the tension to relax that an approach becomes clear.

Back to Vance Joy, he is an incredible performer. His presence on stage, ability to build energy with the crowd, connect personally, and engage. This is on top of a catalogue of catchy songs.

A pattern started to emerge as I watched him perform, and reflected in the other opening acts. He would share a personal insight and overview, which led into the song, end with gratitude, introduce some band members or comment about the environment, and draw us in further with the next personal insight. I become mindful of how I was being brought into his world in a collective experience with hundreds of others.

The pieces fell into place for me on the drive home and through the following days. The pattern applied to the upcoming innovation tour: introduce each region as a whole, let each space and group I visit share their story to sing and celebrate their own song, connect each experience with gratitude and positive focus, and wrap up with comments about the wider context.

Through the tour we will collectively create a concert experience for Australia, with the spotlight on the entrepreneurs and those who help them. Each is an artist in their own right, practising their craft and creating art that can be shared.

I was able to trial this approach later in the week when I had a video training intensive with my media mentor and was able to pump out a few templates taking away some of the stress.

A good reminder to occasionally unplug and gain inspiration from creative sources to see patterns and let the subconscious do its work.

Always learning.




American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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Chad Renando

Chad Renando

American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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