Course length: 90 – 180 mins

Rhythmic Disruption as a Metaphor for Organisational Disruption

In the course of this workshop participants learn how to play three rhythmic patterns used in Afro-Cuban music. Afro-Cuban percussion is a rich and complex tradition which is played both in 4/4 time (typical of almost all western music) and in 12/8 time.  Participants viscerally experience the disruption of trying to bring rhythmic patterns in different time signatures together.  They then learn and experience how the third very simple rhythmic pattern, called the ‘clave’, is designed to be played in both time signatures and hence serve as a ‘hinge’ or ‘bridge’ across the disruptive forces.

Throughout all points in the workshop the real challenges of learning the parts, and the discomfort and effort of trying to navigate rhythmic disruption, are reflected on in terms of organizational disruption. Participants examine and analyze the range of responses to see the complexity of real reactions to disruption, and through reflecting on the role of the clave participants can apply new insight to navigating disruptive change.


disruption - percussion

Rich, Nik & participants at Berlin Change Days navigating disruption in percussion.

Participants engage in and viscerally feel,  in real-time, the actual experience of disruption.

  • Participants acquire and/or improve their capacity to perceive and analyse disruption in their own experience.
  • Participants engage their capacity to learn by journeying through a challenging (but fun) exercise requiring considerable focus.
  • Participants activate and cultivate their aptitude for curiosity by committing to learn in an unusual situation.
  • Increase team cohesion through participation in unusual, challenging and fun exercises requiring shared timing and ensemble learning.

‘Disruption & Percussion’ is a fully integrated hands-on workshop.  Participants learn rhythmic structures by actually clapping them out, and are carried through a journey in which they viscerally experience rhythmic disruption and work to resolve it by learning new skills.  The fundamental theme of disruption, and how it relates to organizational strategy and culture, are consistently returned to through ongoing conversation, questioning, reflection and analysis.

'Rhythm necklaces' depicting percussion patterns learned in the workshop.

‘Rhythm Necklaces’ of the rhythm patterns learned in the workshop.