Innovation Foundations

Day 88 Week 13 Q1  Wednesday, March 29, 2023

This is a romp through some of the parallels of the role of bass in music and innovation foundation, both of which are largely hidden from general view, even though in plain sight.  To successfully, or even unsuccessfully innovate, there are necessary foundational underpinnings. Solid foundations permit stronger construction of lives and musical expression, depending on the style or genre. Let me begin with the musical perspective, which sheds light upon the innovation life view.

Have you ever noticed that most musical ensembles have a bass player? Can you imagine rock,  jazz, country or any modern popular form without a bass? There is also usually a bass player in classical music, but they are masquerading as cellists. Yes, that’s right, the role of the bass is normally played by the cello in classical music. Classical music preceded all of the above-mentioned popular music forms by centuries and even invented the double bass to play a role supporting (doubling) the cello, which came first. 

The bass line in music all the way from Bach to Beyonce holds down the beat. The beat, or tempo, is the thing you are tapping your foot to when first inspired tome in response to music. There is no question that music that makes you move to it outsells music that does not, and this is primarily due to the bass. In the most reduced version of a classical ensemble, the string quartet, the cello “plays” this role. When more reinforcement of this bass part was needed, the string bass, also called double bass, upright bass, contrabass, bass viol, or simply the bass, came into being and eventually worked its way into most music forms.  

The bass does not only provide the tempo. It also provides the tonal center or what key the music is in. People do not buy much music with no beat, which is in no key. If no bass is involved, it gets much harder to earn a living musically. Most audiences do not give much thought to this, just as most customers do not consider what underlies innovation. 

For innovation to exist, some insight must drive it forward, just as the bass drives the music forward. There also has to be some framework within which this innovation solves a problem for someone. This is similar to asking what key this piece of music is in. Without insight or a problem, it is like having music with no pulse or key. Neither is worth much.

The foundation of any innovation is insight must occur within a framework, usually outlining a problem that needs to be solved. If there is no problem, there is no need for the manifestation of the insight to be adopted as a solution. And if there is no insight, there is no pulse, and you can not tap your foot to it.

Just as the foundational importance of bass players is generally underestimated, so are those with insight. Both of them must perform with a persistent pulse and in an identifiable key to be heard and hired.