Bio

Adrian Cho leads a life of creativity at scale that crosses multiple domains and disciplines with a constant on focus on getting shit done, undertaking ambitious projects, and creative problem-sovling.┬áHe’s always juggling a multitude of diverse initiatives, undertaking big challenges, and pivoting at every turn.

As a musician who has been performing for over forty years, he is best known to Ottawa jazz audiences as the founder and Artistic Director of the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, a unique, critically acclaimed symphonic jazz ensemble that began from a single ambitious event in 2005. The orchestra performed fifteen seasons of sold-out concerts at the National Arts Centre until the pandemic forced the cancellation of their 2019-2020 season and is now back presenting an exciting 2024 season with bold plans for future seasons.

During the pandemic, while most live music was dormant, Adrian founded syncspace.live, a game-changing platform and virtual venue that allows professional musicians across the globe to perform together in real-time and broadcast their live performances to live audiences. The platform was used to present 100 live jazz concerts throughout the pandemic and has been used by Carleton University, Concerts in Care Ontario, and others to bring musicians together across the Internet for recordings and performances.

As a jazz bassist he freelances and performs around town for various events. Adrian believes in entertaining, as well as educating, through music and has often been praised for his connection with audiences. 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.”

As a veteran of the tech industry with over thirty years of experience working in a variety of engineering and business roles, Adrian worked for decades in software development, spent over a decade working in software intellectual property management, and eventually transitioned to helping companies boost their impact, navigate chaos, and break through challenges. Companies he has worked for include IBM, Shopify, Fujitsu, Bankers Trust, and he has been a consultant at many other companies including Bosch and Proctor & Gamble. Before leaving “big tech” his last major role was as the Director of Getting Shit Done at Shopify where he supported efficient operations during growth of the company from 900 to 6000 employees.

As a photographer, Adrian has traveled the world photographing wildlife, nature, people, places, and culture to promote ethical wildlife photography and wildlife conservation. You can view some of Adrian’s photography at adrianchophotography.com.

Although no longer working full-time for big tech companies, Adrian still occasionally works as a freelance software developer. He recently worked with Play the Cities, a team of designers based in Amsterdam, Istanbul, and Barcelona, to develop The Global Game to facilitate collaborations between participants of the 2023 London Design Biennale and on other projects such as one that helps to solve the housing shortage in the Dutch city of Almere through the concept of kangaroo living. He has also been exploring electric vehicles and manufacturing, and builds custom personal electric vehicles on request.

Adrian loves to share his unique cross-disciplinary experience and perspectives through teaching and writing. He has been teaching in Carleton University’s Learning in Retirement/Lifelong Learning program since 2011. 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 including psychologist and creativity guru Keith Sawyer, and author of eight books on design and innovation, Scott Berkun. 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!”