September 23, 2016
The real lesson from Symphonologie: Technology = technology Technology + expertise + determination + strategy = progress
By: Andrew Soane

For classical music fans (or fans of technology and business - take your pick which you are, the outcome is the same), Tuesday night was a very big deal. Accenture Strategy teamed up with Mathieu Lamboley, celebrated French composer and conductor, and unveiled a brand new symphony, brought to life by a full symphony orchestra, all against the splendid backdrop of the Louvre, Paris.

Nothing surprising about that, you may say. After all, big business has been using major cultural events for lavish client entertainment for years. Just take a look around you next time you’re at the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Centre or the Royal Albert Hall.

Except this time it was rather different. Accenture didn’t just turn up, hand out a few cucumber sandwiches and usher its pampered guests into the auditorium.

Tonight Accenture broke the mold: Accenture Strategy was behind the music itself.

We collaborated with Hannah Davis, creative technologist and musician, Rare Volume, interactive design and data artists, both based in New York, and Mathieu Lamboley, celebrated French composer and conductor, to produce 3 stunning pieces of music that formed Symphonologie, together with the awesome digital art, inspired by business and technology, that served as a visual backdrop to the music.

For most organizations, that would have been a feat in itself. Except that at Accenture Strategy, where we pride ourselves on being disruptive, on being at the intersection of business and technology, on leading in the new, that wouldn’t have been new enough. Not by a long way.

Instead we identified and tracked the biggest trends in business and technology, compiled articles (enough to fill a 600-page book) and analyzed that content for sentiment, using artificial intelligence. The results were categorized and the data transposed into musical elements like key, tempo, and pitch, and the music was arranged into a midi file and assigned a sample instrument, like the piano for example. These audio files, which reveal for the first time ever the music of business and technology, were then provided to the composer who built the symphony around the core musical themes.

Wow. Who would have thought the product of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis could sound so beautiful?

Except we shouldn’t be so surprised, should we? Technology plays an increasingly big role in the arts and creative media (Disney’s last genuinely hand drawn animated movie, for example, was The Princess and the Frog, back in in 2009).

So whilst the purpose of Tuesday’s incredible and ground breaking show wasn’t to illustrate that new technology and digital will increasingly impact on the arts (in the same way that they have impacted on every other area of our lives), that is nevertheless, undoubtedly, the case.

What is clear, however, following Tuesday’s amazing show, is that for all of the potential that new technologies offer, we can only genuinely push the boundaries of achievement if we have a (human) understanding of how those technologies work, real determination to challenge accepted principles and find new and different ways of working, and a clear strategy in place to bring that change about.

Welcome to the world of Accenture Strategy.

If you weren’t able to watch Symphonologie, you can relive the debut performance on Monday, 26th September, at the Symphonologie web page.

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    PabloFernández Guillén • October 28, 2016

    Really interesting article! As a musician, I think music industry will evolve very next to technology. An example is Spotify, who are studying right now new ways of interactions with their users.

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