Improv frameworks, tools, and techniques are being used more and more as part of innovation efforts. It makes total sense: why wouldn’t a group want to have greater access to spontaneous thinking and collaboration skills? KILN has compiled this list of clips (with running times) related to improvisation with an eye towards scaffolding the viewer with the basics first, then the advanced practice you could adopt in innovation programs.
We’ve also included some questions to think about related to using improv principles and tools in your innovation work.
Note basic key principle of “Yes, And” – in other words, acceptance, not agreement. This is a basic dynamic of collaborative problem solving. How does this apply to creative problem solving ideation, or brainstorming? How does this apply to what you do in your sessions?
Whose Line/Freeze Tag
Notice how this illustrates the use of stop action and divergent transition. Notice the aspects of discovery and forced connections. How might a facilitator use "stop action"?
"Stick" - Jonathan Winters
Note the simplicity and elegance of improv, trusting the process and discovery. Notice the power of patience, then making bold choices and being fully-committed to your choice. What is the importance of breadth of life experience? How would Jonathan Winters have handled a tough situation you have encountered?
Upright Citizens Brigade w/ Amy Poehler & Tina Fey: The Harold
Sample this lengthy clip illustrating “the Harold” with some familiar faces. Notice the use of: a) Yes, And ... b) Execution on themes, c) Forced connections, d) Transitions -- sweep, chairs, seizing stage front & center, and e) The spirit of play, fun, ensemble.
How can you see The Harold being of use in problem exploration, ideation and solution finding/action planning?
5 mins 23 secs
Notice how constraints/framework -- place/process/product/people can assist your goals. Notice the power of commitment to agreement. How would Will Shakespeare write about your challenges and tell the story of their resolution?
TJ & Dave
Notice the importance of patience, listening, discovery and hanging with a process. In what situations would it make sense to simply wait for an idea for a consensus to emerge?
Interview with TJ Jagodowski
Notice the importance of bringing your full breadth of experience -- and a diversity of experiences -- into the room. Notice that TJ talks about "getting good", and even at the beginning of learning improvisation, you are as experienced as you need to be -- if you listen, pay attention, support your team and follow some basics rules of improv. Where might you improve with regard to listening?
Think of this as an illustration of a way to enrich the Harold (or any scene) by infusing most relevant Post-It captured data and stop action. Can you see using this technique in a session? Why or why not?
Improv Zone/Gary Schwartz
Some improv fundamentals from one of Viola Spolin's key disciples, Gary Schwartz. Note the importance of discovery and working in space -- a "different space" from what you’re accustomed to. Notice the importance put on getting "out of your head". How might you get participants into that rarified creative air?
Want to learn more?
Improv is experiential. You can watch it, you can read about it, but to work improvisationally, you need to try it. Workshops provide a safe space to experiment. We run improv workshops at your workplace, tailored to the needs of the people in your organisation. Interested to learn more? Please get in touch.
Just curious? Some of our workshops are described here.