About 15 years ago I read a book by Matt Mason called The Pirates Dilemma, which was basically about piracyand the unstoppable train of technological advancements that was fuelled by applying an OPEN SOURCE approach to many previously static cultural and commercial items – meaning that the mavericks and disruptors would/could see them, modify them and then distribute the new creationas they saw fit.

This allowed for innovation at such a rapid rate but also empowered creative people. I was fascinated by that approach – but not just in terms of commerce – but the idea of openly sharing information, your ideas, insights and experiences in order to allow the receiver to see, modify, and share that through their own activities / careers etc. It felt empowering to underserved communities especially.


This inspired the creation of a blog and magazine I started with some friends called MESH Culture (circa 2008/2009) – which was all about spotlighting those cultural leaders who took, mixed and re-mixed in order to make something really fresh and exciting. It also became my approach to talent development. I started to design programmes whereby those who knew and those who do would selflessly share as much information as possible from their experience and/or specialist perspective with emerging talent allowing that talent to understand HOW they done it (not just WHAT they done), apply it to what they do and then activate it within their own work. I tried to build that into any work I have done, especially around talent development and talent management.


About 4 years ago, myself and two creative friends started developing an idea around a new platform that would spotlight and celebrate creativity but also aim to inspire more creativity within a community. Applying the OPEN SOURCE philosophy, the platform would encourage the sharing of creative work and ideas within that community with the intention that new work could be developed and existing work could be improved on which ultimately would benefit the community.  This would be done through exchanges, whether IRL events or online interaction or media content but also via iterative product drops. Anyway this is still in process to launch but the idea was cemented.


So bringing it up to the present, when I wanted to develop a music conference offer as part of the LIMF Academy talent development programme, I thought it made sense to utilise the ideology of OPEN SOURCE, hence the LIMF Academy OPEN SAUCE conference. (Sidenote: I wanted to add a little more flavour so decided to change the word SOURCE to SAUCE – which is all about cool’…”sharing the sauce” “…they got sauce”… you get the idea. Anyway…). The first one took place on Sat 28th Jan and covered subjects including artistic liberation and execution, independence, funding, utilising data, Web 3.0, networking and mental well-being amongst others, with some of the best minds and organisations in the business attending and sharing their insights and connecting with the attendees in an impactful way. Speakers included Sarah Stennett (CEO, First Access Entertainment), Rob Swerdlow (Director, Starwood Management), Bryan Johnson (Head of Artist & Industry Partnerships International, Spotify), Låpsley, Red Rum Club, Fuzz Chaudhrey (Producer, BBC Music Introducing), Despa Robinson (Founder and CEO, BE83 Music Group) plus many more. The day also featured a series of intimate in conversations, discussions and drop in sessions.


By Yaw Owusu