On Thursday, September 17th, we joined Drum Cafe for an evening of collective rhythms and engaging conversation. Lead by Facilitator Pavel Lempert and Master Drummer Mangue Sylla, we became part of a unique type of collaborative environment that showed us just how critical it is to create organizational structures to enable collaboration and cooperation. It’s easy to think that creativity is this magical process that begins with unfettered freedom, but true creativity requires structure and focus and discipline.

Guided by our facilitator and accompanied by our Master Drummer, we spent an hour constructing a unifying drum cadence that allowed individual members the freedom to create their own solo moments while being support by the group. As our time drumming came to an end, Pavel brought us all back together to finish the session in unison.

We discovered throughout the facilitation that we often think we’re listening to each other, when in reality, we’re mentally preparing our next comment or formulating the next idea (or a host of other things that are dividing our attention!) By creating a structure (i.e. the drum circle) that not only allowed, but required, deep, focused listening, we all became freer and more creative when it was our time to shine.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about it:

Participating in the Innovation Loft’s ‘Drum Café’, provided a great reminder of the importance of working with and surrounding yourself with diverse team members.  The presenters opened with a powerful quote from Nelson Mandela, ‘I am who I am because of those around me’ which triggers additional reflection in this area. I strive to continue to be a truly inclusive leader – bringing diverse perspectives together to solve complex problems and also to create the needed intersection for innovation.

-Michele Landon, Ernst & Young


As a trainer, facilitator, and coach, the “call-and-response” drumming was a great exercise in active listening, and it challenged us to get out of our own heads. (Surprisingly difficult to do.)

I loved the fun and collaborative environment that was created. It quickly opened up dialogue within my team, eliminated fear and risk, and allowed us to quickly create an experience that valued everyone’s input. The end result was a successful and fun (although slightly imperfect) outcome/performance that we were all happy to be a part of.

The drumming was incredibly uplifting and fun, which really opened people up, and allowed for instant connection. Loved it.

-Steve Cherches, Big Blue Gumball


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