Music stimulates passion, affection, devotion, reassurance and warmth. To hear something you can remain passive, but to listen to something you have to be active. Sound is important because of its link with memory; music stimulates and awakens memories of our past and at the same time takes us into the future.

Miha Pogačnik lectures on active listening and management learning accompanied by classical music are a hit all over the globe. Managers at IBM, Hewlett Packard, Mitsubishi, Matt and Nike have all listened to Miha as he elegantly and in his own unique way brings together art and economy across different cultures and generations.

We asked Miha Pogačnik to tell us a little bit more about his ingenious method and how it all began.

Q: As an educated and trained classical violinist, when and how did you decide not to dedicate your life to being a concert hall violinist, but instead to exploring the potential of music in the field of improving multi-layered communication and business management?
You are posing a question to someone who is entering “the fourth life” in just one lifetime! The first one was indeed playing a few thousand concerts in my early career which was a great and valuable experience. But in the mid 80s the world situation, signalling the beginning of the breakdown of opposing ideologies, greatly stimulated my entrepreneurial nature and I persuaded the almost 1,000 international audience of my newly founded Chartres Festival (France) to travel with me and fellow artists to Slovenia (Bled, 1984) and in the following years, until the fall of the Berlin wall, to many cities from Budapest across the continents to as far as Lhasa/Tibet. The social movement IDRIART was born and tens of thousands from the West travelled with us artists to meet the locals in the crisis areas in the East, also later to the devastated Sarajevo, Mostar and Dubrovnik in the period of Yugoslavia’s breakdown. This was the innovation of my “second” life: laying the ground for social transformation through the resonant power of music and other arts, motivating people of all walks of life to pack their suitcases and travel with us artists, engaging in trans-disciplinary and intercultural dialogue and renewal. The “third life” emerged in the early 90s when the whole world seemed to be heading for the only alternative monoculture of turbo-capitalism. And I took the challenge by the horns and the art-transforming-business paradigm was born!

Q: In an interview for a Slovenian media channel you once said that “art is a principle that opens up the possibilities of transformation on all levels.” When and how did you recognise the power of the violin as a tool to create a specific platform where better communications conditions are created as well as a higher sensibility for understanding a fellow human being?
One of my passions has been playing my violin in the magnificent cathedrals of the world, searching for the ultimate resonance, which I then finally found two years ago in the King’s Chamber, deep inside the granite of the Cheops Pyramid in Cairo. This was only the final touch, however, of the previous learning experience of 200+ IDRIART festivals and “ploughing through” the leadership of some 150 global corporations that confirmed to me the revolutionary effect of the art experience driving the “leadership initiation journey”, of de-mixing and re-composing complex human nature. But only if we learn how to go way beyond just performing…

Q: You say that companies and their management systems lack the contrapuntal process. How do leaders and managers learn about this process during your workshops?
The greatest musical masterpieces draw the magic out of the productive tension principle, just as with a great love relationship! Imagine a company performing like a symphony orchestra! I often invite my clients to sit among the musicians of the orchestra and then we discover together what management “sounds like” if unfolding on the “resonance platform”…it is lifted from the mechanical model to the organic, inspired through the meaningful participation of everyone’s voice! And what is the power which instantly propels the “ego-heavy” musicians (or managers!) to cooperation, mutual support and meaning? It is the genius of the masterpiece which everyone loves to perform! We are lacking such a “score” with its magic power in our business plan. Vision, mission and CSR usually don’t get far beyond being stuck on the wall. The formative forces of music restructure the most precious and lacking modern commodity: the experience of time.  This should be of interest for the event industry: From ROI to ROT! (Return on Time).

Q: You’ve performed a number of workshops in the field of musical management for various world-famous companies and each workshop is unique for its imaginative creativity. Among others, you prepared a workshop for Ericsson’s marketing department, where you thought out the basics of management using the metaphor of the Seven Samurai. By what principle do you choose a musical theme for a specific team, and how do you know that the chosen theme is the right one?
I have a friend who will surprise you with this greeting: Take care,…and take a risk! That is the secret of entrepreneurship. After receiving a good in-depth briefing from a client I take good care of preparation, but nothing ever succeeds without risking the impossible… clients usually want to step out of the established patterns straitjacket, and it doesn’t take much persuasion to turn them into poets and painters on a creative detour towards their corporate solution! My “interruptive method” reflects the interruptive state of the modern world economy – I play, paint, tell stories and act, all at the same time, clients are thrown out of the linear thinking, sparks are jumping, and on the higher level, on the resonance platform, their questions are re-formulated out of their own answers!

Q: What will Conventa participants learn from your performance?
ROT. If we, the organisers of events, dare to capture the precious time of participants, then we’d better make sure the experience goes from the mechanic (transactional) to the organic, magic and inspirational, to the resonance-environment which cannot be forgotten. Powerpoint transmitted information we tend to forget. An art-permeated living experience becomes the real force for the journey of deep and lasting change!

…and the fourth life?…Terra Parzival…

Miha Pogačnik, an internationally acclaimed violinist and leadership expert, invites you not to admire the virtuosity of the Bach sonatas, but to recognise its inspirational power that creates a unique resonance platform for solution-based learning.

WHERE:  Conventa Expert Corner
WHEN:    Tuesday, 20 January 2016 at 2:20 pm

Miha Pogacnik a Slovenian world renowned violinist explores the parallels between musical and organizational identity and business processes, using it to help companies to solve problems and increase innovation.

Miha is CIO – Chief Inspiration Officer of the Institute for Development of Intercultural Relations through the Arts (IDRIART) andManaging Director of Ecoculture. In this role he has held over 200 festivals in crisis areas around the globe. His last social creation is Terra Parzival, European Regional Development Model.

Also, he serves as Cultural Ambassador of Slovenia.

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.