Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We have a handful of corps that have the talent to win gold, which is outstanding. The sheer number of great ideas this year is more than I've ever seen in DCI, and I've been watching (or marching) since the mid-80s.

What pains me most is when show designs hobble great talent, that demoralize almost as much as inspire.

What I love to see most is a show design that empowers MMs to achieve their highest potential as performers, as people, and as artists, making the show itself into a work of art that transcends the idiom of drum corps.

Usually, it's the show concepts that either click, or fail. A great concept will most always lead to a string of inspired, aesthetically-unified, and effective (GE) decisions in all captions. A poor concept will fail to a greater or lesser degree in all regards, including demoralizing MMs who have to live with it, act like they love it, but hate it secretly until afterwards, when they just end up regretting the decision they made to trust the design team and join the corps. That's the worst of all possible outcomes.

Solution to poor design = Open Innovation

Here's how to do it (though versions of this have been tried in the past, I'm well aware):

1. The design team must let go a bit and open up, instead of being like Charleton Heston ("...FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!"). Egos must be shelved. It's OK, we have to tell the corps directors and design teams. You'll still get your salaries because you're paid to CO-innovate and collaborate, to execute the designs, and hardest of all: to teach a group of young people how to create art. People out there, including potential members who will actually perform the show, have great ideas. Closed innovation doesn't work anymore in business, and it doesn't work well in DCI, at least for several corps, and even sometimes for the very best organizations. (Object lesson: 12.25, 10, Yowza, etc.)

2. They solicit show ideas from fans and alumni, but do so in an organized way, requesting concept, music, arrangement, visual, uniform, flag, prop, etc., ideas that communicate that theme. A standard format and strict requirements for submitting show design proposals must be communicated, just like any professional proposal. I'm talking actual RFPs (requests for proposals). And they could even require that the ideas if rejected cannot be used by other DCI organizations, which would keep the IP (intellectual property) within the community, as it were. Even better: they could request (or even require) individuals and/or teams of future MMs submit proposals. Could be a component of their auditions.

3. They allow the community to view the ideas, comment, and vote.

4. They give the community 50% of the votes, and their team 50%, and the best idea wins. Maybe the second or fourth best ideas will win the following year(s).

How could you go wrong with the above?

The days of the dictatorial corps director mucking things up are numbered. Just like the days of white guys in cigar-filled rooms deciding which candidate from which prominent political family will represent their party for governor or president. (Oh wait.....)

Closed innovation, top-down, dictatorial decisions are so 20th century. So pre-social media. So Greatest Generation. Charleton Heston died angry, red-faced, half-crazy, but reports say that he was holding his wrinkled shrunken antique piece.

Don't let this happen to you, top-5 corps.

Let go. This is the Millennial Generation marching. They want co-ownership in their organizations. They want to lend a hand, to be empowered, to express their voice, and invest everything they have in its success, from concept to execution, from paper to the Gold medal around their neck at Finals.

Trust the alumni, fans, and most of all: future MMs, not just yourselves.

Open Innovation will avoid show designs that are inept from the get-go.

Open Innovation will yield gold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously? Posted in the middle of finals for this year? You couldn't wait an hour?

Nope. It's my therapy for not being able to convince anyone in November that "the power of 10" was incoherent and silly, and would fail in the end.

Here was my post about the folly of incoherent design and abstraction for the sake of abstraction, which I posted the day after I read the announcement of "the power of 10". I loved the idea of doing Shostakovich, but hated the number because it made no sense. Note that most people just called me a troll. I wasn't a troll. I'm a longtime fan and alumnus who loves my corps, and was trying to avoid yet another disappointing score on Finals because the GE (which is mostly show design) would become a weakness.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And by fail, I don't mean the MMs. The Cadets and all the 12 corps tonight are executing amazingly well. The Cadets marching and playing is non pareil. Their major weakness isn't the color guard. It's what the guard was told to do. Most of all, it's the fact that the show concept doesn't communicate enough "general effect" emotionally or aesthetically when compared to the shows that will medal, which are more coherent, emotional, narrative, and thus impactful.

But the point of this recommendation isn't to harp on Cadets. The point is to challenge corps design teams to do better by empowering their communities, the most important members of which are the future MMs they must recruit for 2016.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...