Drawing from decades of experience in business as well as in artistic domains such as music and photography, Adrian Cho practices and teaches individual and collaborative creativity to people and teams through his company Creativity at Scale.
In over thirty years in the tech industry Adrian has worked in a variety of engineering and business roles working for both small and large organizations including IBM, Fujitsu, Bankers Trust, and Shopify. Over two decades of this work has involved building internal tools and systems, as well as award-winning products, to support high-performance teamwork at scale. At Shopify, as the Director of Getting Shit Done, he led a business unit that helped the company accelerate and become more effective at scale by growing culture, hacking process, coaching people and teams, and building automation to reduce friction. At IBM, Adrian worked on various initiatives to improve developer productivity and operational excellence in IBM’s Rational, Tivoli and Cloud business units. He was a key contributor to IBM’s Eclipse open source community and projects and IBM’s open commercial development Jazz products. Adrian also has many years of experience in consulting, working on financial trading systems, banking systems, and software development tools for companies such as Fujitsu and Bankers Trust.
In over forty years of performing music Adrian has played a number of different instruments and now performs primarily as a jazz bassist. Since 2006 he has been the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, a unique, critically acclaimed symphonic jazz ensemble that brings together an impressive array of professional jazz and symphony musicians. Alex Hutchinson of the Ottawa Citizen labelled Adrian “a cool guide to hot jazz” while Doug Fischer, also of the Ottawa Citizen, referred to him as “a musical missionary.” John Kelman of All About Jazz wrote that “Cho’s intentions were clearly to educate as much as entertain, and he succeeded on both fronts.”
Adrian shares his experience and unique perspectives through regular teaching and writing. His book, The Jazz Process: Collaboration, Innovation and Agility, published by Addison-Wesley in 2010, is an in-depth treatise on individual and collaborative creativity that has been endorsed by a diverse collection of thought leaders. Reviewers have praised the book as “a huge payback for the time invested in reading it,” “a deep exploration of collaborative know-how,” “a concept of leadership and teamwork that’s well suited for the Google-age workplace” and “a top pick for any business collection!” Since 2011 Adrian has been teaching a behind-the-scenes course on jazz history and performance at Carleton University’s continuing studies program. In 2018 he will teach a new course in the program on the process of individual and collaborative creativity and its impact on the world. Adrian also makes guests appearances at other learning institutions. In 2018 he spoke to MBA students at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management a number of times and was the opening keynote speaker at Algonquin College’s internal staff conference.
When Adrian is not helping others pursue their creative goals, he is constantly working on his personal creative projects including playing flamenco guitar and traveling the world to photograph people, places, and wildlife.