Charles Starrett


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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.


Letting go of ownership

The fun of a jam session is riffing off of others’ musical ideas. Each player taking the little melodies, rhythms, and harmonic changes that came before and doing something new with them. It’s like being handed a clay sculpture and being able to mold it a little differently to show what else is possible, before handing it off to the next person.

This only works if everyone can let go of what they create and hand it off with full permission to change it. To give “ownership” of any one musical phrase over to the process. No musician owns anything in a jam session. Everyone owns everything.

Any creative or innovation process is the same. Each person involved has to give up their sense of ownership. Ideas need to be free, their identities lost on the group process of molding and reshaping until something new emerges. Something that shares DNA with everything that was contributed, and yet does not belong to anyone or anything, except the process.

If your team is feeling stuck, take a look at the question of ownership. What would it take to build enough trust to let go and allow something new to emerge? What might be possible if you could?

13 July 2022

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