Rik Spann, M.A.

Academy for Improvisation and Leadership
Lijnbaansgracht 23 – 3 R
1015 GP Amsterdam

Phone: +31 611120233
Email: rikspann@gmail.com
Web: vucajazz.com

Rik Spann, M.A. is an Amsterdam-based applied musicologist, jazz musician, visual artist and organizational scientist. He is the founder of the Academy for Improvisation and Leadership, and Jamtime Change and Innovation Consultancy. He is a proud board member of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution, and co-founder of De Goudse School, a Dutch platform for original thinkers on contemporary organizational issues at the crossroads of technology, spirituality, science and art.

In the world of the arts he worked as a pop- and jazz journalist, music teacher, band coach, performer, studio engineer, actor, dancer and composer. As a visual artist/composer his work was to be experienced in places like Amsterdam, Rome, Milano, Stockholm, Osaka and Tokio. At a certain point in his life he decided to dedicate his life to translating his experiences in the world of the arts to lessons for all people, teams and organizations that maybe would welcome a fresh and original perspective on their everyday and modern age challenges.

Rik’s main thing might be the use of the jazz metaphor – or more in general ‘Groove Stories’ as generative metaphors from the worlds of jazz, blues, rock, soul, funk and other music styles, techniques and phenomena – as a way to unlock slumbering creativity in systems, always in the larger contexts in which true human and social creativity emerges.

He is interested in a lot: researching (the relationships between) organizational improvisation, appreciative inquiry, social constructionism, linguistics, social creativity, creating conditions for ‘cool conversations’ and cultures of innovation, team dynamics and flow states. He writes on a wide range of subjects, like music history, strategic improvisation, embodiment, complexity and emergence, integrity, irrational quality, jazz cybernetics (‘jamming on the edge of chaos’), design innovation, ‘the human factor’ in the digital transformation, and life-and-work lessons to be learned from music, art, theatre and film (mainly in Dutch).

His English work (co-authoring) is about subjects like liminal experience and the transformation of meaning, transcending polarized narratives through the jazz metaphor and ‘collaborating with strangers’ from a phenomenological perspective. (upcoming). A CMM-by-Jazz book is in the pipeline. Also he is working (co) on a book on learning from relating Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue to Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind.

Practically: Rik’s passion is about ‘setting the stage’ for better ways of dealing with the challenges that face us and future generations. Under the banner Vucajazz, in his keynotes, and workshops he hangs a guitar around his neck, tells some stories around Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Bowie or Etta James, and in a playful way tries to make sometimes complex scientific insights and contexts accessible to a larger audience. He happily cooperates with several Taos associates, and assists in programs of Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara.).

Rik’s motto’s :

  • ‘The music is all around you. All you have to do is listen.’ (August Rush). 
  • ‘The change is not in the score. The change is in the gig.’ (RS).

Rik is always ready to jam.