New Book Asks: What Can Musicians Teach Us About Innovation?

Panos A. Panay and R. Michael Hendrix will discuss their new book, Two Beats Ahead, with Berklee President Roger H. Brown and special guests. 

April 9, 2021
Panos Panay

Panos A. Panay

Berklee will host a virtual roundtable in celebration of the new book Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation on Wednesday, April 14, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Moderated by Berklee President Roger H. Brown, the event will feature the book's coauthors, Panos A. Panay, senior vice president for global strategy and innovation, and R. Michael Hendrix, global design director at IDEO and an assistant professor at Berklee, as well as two guests interviewed for the book: Hank Shocklee, legendary hip-hop producer and founding member of Public Enemy, and Susan Rogers, a Berklee professor renowned for her work as Prince’s sound engineer. Registration for the event is now open to the public

In Two Beats Ahead, Panay and Hendrix talk to some of the nation’s top musicians and business leaders about how they approach innovation differently. Featuring interviews with Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, T Bone Burnett, Gloria Estefan, Imogen Heap, and many others, the book explores how a musical mindset can translate to business innovation and entrepreneurial success. 

Two Beats Ahead is all about the skills and mindsets that my Berklee education cultivated in me and which served me throughout my own career in ways I never expected,” says Panay. “Listening, experimenting, connecting, demoing, reinventing—they all played a critical role in my life as an entrepreneur, executive, and educator. Our aspiration for this book is to elevate the conversation about the critical value of a creative education in today’s world.”

Two Beats Ahead

The book has garnered praise from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Scott Dadich (former editor in chief of Wired), David Kelley (founder of IDEO and the Stanford, and others. Hrishikesh Hirway, creator and host of Song Exploder, says, “This book shows how thinking like a musician can provide valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, educators, and anyone who's trying to create something new.” The Financial Times says, “[Two Beats Ahead] makes a sound case for why the arts should play just as central a role in education as maths and science and that to meet the ever increasing complexity of the world's challenges 'it's not about making the false choice between science or art, mathematics or music, but about emphasizing both.'"

"Two Beats Ahead grew from a genuine desire to help musicians transfer their artistic skills to all aspects of their lives,” says Hendrix. “During the last few years we've helped students unlock their creative potential and understand that listening, collaborating, and experimenting, for example, are mindsets that apply broadly to personal and professional life. They are perspectives I use daily as a designer and innovation consultant at IDEO. And they are skills we used to write this book. It's exciting to share these ideas even more broadly now."

Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation is available on Amazon and all other book retailers. For more information, visit the Two Beats Ahead website

Listen to a Spotify playlist created for each chapter of the book and watch a video where Panay discusses Justin Timberlake’s approach to innovation: 

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