Tag Archives: Creativity

Announcing our New App: iLiv Composer

iLiv’s new application has been officially launched to Alpha testers, and it has a good name:

Composer

So, what’s in a name?

To answer that, let’s ask another question: what does a music composer actually do? The answer to this question depends on who you ask:

A music theorist might respond: A composer puts music notation on a page, according to the sounds she hears in her head or wants to hear in the real world, and the rules of music theory and notation; the page is then handed to a musician who plays the sequence of notes on his instrument so the audience can hear it.

A music teacher might say: A composer is a really talented person with great musical ideas, and you can play his music if you practice hard enough.

A musician might say: He wrote the piece, I play it.

A conductor might say: The intentions of the great composer are there on the page, and it is my job to manage the orchestra, keeping them all together and on the same page about how it is supposed to sound.

A social scientist might say: a composer sets up a social situation that results in an uplifting experience for everyone in the room.

And here’s where it hits home for many of you:

A project manager might say: A composer is a designer of an integrative process, and I, much like a conductor, coordinate the work and the people, and keep everything on time.

With iLiv Composer, we are focusing on a blend of the impulses of the social scientist and the project manager.

Getting Better at Getting Things Done

The great underserved aspect of getting things done — certainly by enterprise software — is a critical attention placed on process creation.

We simply must put creative attention on bettering the way we get things done: to remain competitively productive; to keep our sanity while herding cats; and to continuously improve. We need our processes to energize at scale – for the bottom line, and for the creativity and efficiency of the team.

We chose the name Composer because nothing says great process better than conjuring up the image of great music composed by a really interesting composer. It certainly beats the greyness of entering tasks in a task management tool or drawing gantt charts in a spreadsheet.

Composer has the potential to be game changing:  Simply put, your concept for Composer has triggered a domino effect of ideas within our operations team on how best to leverage it.  I hope it is clear from our conversations how excited we are to begin leveraging your excellent design concepts.”

This comment came in last week, unsolicited, from one of our most important Alpha users (also a long-time user of iLiv All-In). No drab greyness in this reaction, is there?

In my next posts I will start to lay out what iLiv Composer is beginning to do for high-growth design, certification, and professional services firms.

BTW, the photo with this post is of American experimental composer John Cage. I worked with him daily for the last 11 years of his life. During that time he came to think of his music as an example of anarchic harmony. This is what the Internet is too, of course. It is also an essential design objective of the inspired project manager.

Photo from: http://elestantedelfondo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/john-cage_25.html

iLiv is building a BRAND NEW APPLICATION

Most of you reading this know — and more likely than not — love iLiv All-In™. We know that because you tell us.  Makes us happy.

All-In is the software that, together with training, consulting, and customization, propels us in our mission to help our customers discover, re-use, and refine new and better ways of working together.

We have always based this mission around the idea that there are two broad groups of people who get a project done. We call them Performers and Composers, using a musical metaphor that is dear to our hearts.

With All-In we set out, first and foremost, to support Performers. For 11 years now it has helped people working on projects be more creative and much more productive.

All-In answers, for everybody working on a project, the 3 critical questions:

  • Who’s doing what?
  • What do I have to do next?
  • How are we doing?

With this one product, and a lot of customization and collaboration with our customers, iLiv’s users have realized productivity boosts of up to 1500%. Yep, that’s a lot.

All along, we have known that All-In did not deliver as much of a boost to Composers — the project managers, workflow designers, and process creators that all but the simplest projects need. That’s been alright for us, so far, because:

  1. 90%+ of project team members are Performers, and
  2. If the team members are not being productive and creating value, neither is the project manager.

Well, for the past few months, we’ve been working on addressing that shortfall.

Drum roll Please…

iLiv is building a BRAND NEW APPLICATION!

We will be posting all about it over the next 6 months, as alpha and beta users tell us what they think of it, and give us suggestions and feedback.

iLiv Project Management Composer

It’s still is the lab, and early days yet, but the goals are clear and the features growing daily.

In the next post I will tell you what its name will be. Sharp-eyed readers will spot it in this screenshot from a developer’s desk.

Stay tuned.

iLiv Founder Opens Show for David Suzuki

Tensegrity Sound Source #5 Played by Andrew Culver
Tensegrity Sound Source #5
Played by Andrew Culver

I’ve been putting-off writing my first blog post for a while now because I have been learning so much about this industry that it seems like with every day that passes, yesterday’s news has become just that. But now, it’s finally time to introduce myself – I’m Karen Tucker. I wear a lot of hats at iLiv, but most of my time is spent “product managing”. I spend time asking a ton of questions to users and potential users of our software, and I translate what I’ve learned to our programmers and to our sales/marketing team. As they say in the business books, I’m the “customer in the room” — I represent you. And this morning, you’ve got your happy pants on because it’s just been confirmed that iLiv’s very own Andrew Culver will be performing at this year’s Living Future unConference. Yay!

And here’s why we’re so excited about that:

I met Andrew Culver in April of 2009 because a friend, who had been raving about his music and telling me I would love it, invited me along to a show. That night, Andrew was performing with electro-acoustic music design and performance group, Sonde, at the Sala Rossa on St-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal. It was the second time that I had the opportunity to see the group, but my first time meeting Andrew.

Sonde had learned from Composer Mario Bertoncini that in order to make original music or “sound”, they would have to create new sound sources. And that’s just what they did. And it was beautiful.

It was obvious that Andrew had also been hugely influenced by the music of John Cage and the teachings of Buckminster Fuller, and I found out that he had actually worked as John Cage’s full time assistant for 11 years, collaborating with him on all aspects of composition, including the design of a computer program that would be responsible for all of Cage’s Chance Operations thereafter. Andrew had also exchanged letters with Buckminster Fuller, and in 1983, he received a personal invitation from Fuller himself to perform his Tensegrity Sound Source #5 – one of a series of 9 sound sources designed along Buckian lines – at his event, Integrity Day. Ironically (because of the course Andrew’s life would take twenty years later), then-journalist, now-environmentalist, Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org), covered Integrity Day in The New Yorker, favourably mentioning Andrew’s performance.

Needless to say, I was impressed – I even married him in 2011. But there’s a lot between 2009 and now that led to Andrew’s upcoming performance of the same sound source at the Living Future unConference this month in Seattle.

At the end of that April evening, Andrew handed me a business card with his contact information. The card belonged to his company, iLiv, a local tech start-up focusing on collaboration in green building design and operations, he told me. He explained that he had been impressed by results he’d gotten from composing scores that were designed to give performers in a large orchestra the freedom to create, or as Andrew described it, “making each individual performer into a soloist”. He explained that iLiv’s software would help other types of teams to collaborate effectively, harvesting the creativity and know-how of each team member in much the same way. In green building specifically, this would lead to better buildings.

An entrepreneur myself, I joined the iLiv team later that year, and began by interviewing the kinds of folks we nicked-named “deep greenies” about their own collaboration processes. I met Bill Reed and learned about Integrative Process, Huston Eubank (an iLiv team member), Ann Edminster, Danny Pearl, Phil Williams, Tom Lent, Steve Selkowitz, Michael ChandlerNadav Malin, and Pliny Fisk, to name a few. They all reported a disconnect in building and a need for a big change and a new way to work together in order to get a building that would be more than the sum of its parts (i.e. a building that was a working system, and part of a greater ecosystem).

It was Mary Davidge who introduced me to the Living Building Challenge, a system like the LEED Rating System, only more stringent. I attended my first Living Future unConference in 2009 and haven’t missed one since. Last year, I even had the opportunity to host a session alongside Ann Edminster and Christine Magar.

In 2012, Living Building Challenge was recognized by the Buckminster Fuller Institute and named winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Andrew and I ran into LBC Founder, Jason McLennan,  at Bioneers (another “deep greenie” conference) that year, and we pitched the idea of Andrew performing at the next Living Future. Jason and his team accepted and have slotted Andrew as the opening act for this year’s keynote, David Suzuki. Andrew will play his Tensegrity Sound Source #5 the same way he performed it at Integrity Day, only this time he will be introducing David McConville (BFI President) and David Suzuki instead of Buckminster Fuller.

So, come check out Andrew, opening for David Suzuki’s keynote, at Living Future in Seattle this year. I’ll be the one making home videos on my iPad (and sending them to our Twitter followers). 😉

Where: Westin Seattle Grand Ballroom

When: 6:30pm, Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Cost: $75 for reception and keynote only (including David Suzuki), or if you’re already attending the conference, admission is free with your full conference pass.