Adrian Cho leads a life of creativity at scale with three simultaneous careers.
As a photographer, Adrian travels the world photographing wildlife, nature, people, places, and culture to tell stories about the incredible and complex world we live in. View selections from his portfolio and purchase prints or digital images at adrianchophotography.com. Through his company Wildlife First Photography Adrian teaches photography and leads wildlife photography tours that practice and promote ethical wildlife photography.
As a musician who has been performing for over forty years, he is best known as the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, a unique, critically acclaimed symphonic jazz ensemble he founded in 2006. Each season Adrian brings together an impressive array of professional jazz and symphony musicians to participate in a series of uniquely educational and entertaining performances. 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 also took up flamenco guitar recently as a challenge to learn a completely different instrument and genre.
As a veteran of the tech industry with over thirty years of experience working in a variety of engineering and business roles, Adrian helps companies become more effective through consulting work with his company Creativity at Scale. In the past he worked for both small and large organizations including IBM, Fujitsu, Bankers Trust, and Shopify. Over two decades of this work 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.
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 and in 2019 he began teaching 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 local learning institutions including Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa’s MBA program.