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Defusing dangerous dogma in improvisation

Defusing dangerous dogma in improvisation

This week a group of us re-watched, via a Facebook Watch Party, one of the most impactful talks ever given at an Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) Conference. It was Pablo Suarez speaking about adapting what we know (i.e. improvisation) to the field of disaster preparedness. Pablo, from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, was with us to re-introduce his presentation...
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A creative activity to give you fresh impetus with a problem or project

A creative activity to give you fresh impetus with a problem or project

If you are stuck with a problem or want to generate new ideas for a project, here’s a great activity to prompt fresh thinking. It’s also a handy way to banish writers’ block. Here’s what I wrote in a recent workshop, led by Trevor Day for the AMED Writers Group. Trevor provided a selection of objects for us on a table.
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Your problem with group brainstorming isn’t creativity…

Your problem with group brainstorming isn’t creativity…

How many of us have been part of a bad brainstorm? But what if it’s not about the group but about how ‘bursty’ it is? And how can improvisation create burstiness? Creativity comes in bursts. Well, that’s according to the Adam Grant podcast ‘WorkLife’, in which he visited Trevor Noah and ‘The Daily Show’...
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What do you want to celebrate? Please, not mistakes!

What do you want to celebrate? Please, not mistakes!

There may be some good arguments for celebrating mistakes, but the fact that they lead on occasion to good outcomes is not one of them. The occasional good dictator is not an argument against democracy, and doesn’t mean we should start celebrating military coups because now and again we’ll be blessed with another good dictator.
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Embracing Uncertainty

Embracing Uncertainty

Much of what happens in work, either day to day or over the length of your working life, is unpredictable. It is subject to emergence - what happens as it happens, in a space of uncertainty. There is little value in pretending you know what the result will be when you don’t. An improvisational attitude invites you to trade the illusion of control for the reality of influence.
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Three tips to increase beautiful layering in meetings, workshops and conferences

Three tips to increase beautiful layering in meetings, workshops and conferences

Layering is the idea of having more than one thing going on at one time in a meeting, workshop or conference. For example, displaying posters on the wall is an example of a layer beyond people simply talking to each other. Each extra layer added to a meeting, workshop or conference also provides an opportunity for the layers to be combined in new activities.
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Why you don’t have to pretend to be a wardrobe

Why you don’t have to pretend to be a wardrobe

We are seeing a lot more articles about the use of improvisation in organisations. Much of the action is on the West Coast of the USA, especially centred on Silicon Valley. Although we are seeing more applied improvisation coming from the UK.
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Transports of Delight

Transports of Delight

My colleague was inspired to invent a new introductory game for our London improvisation group session the other night. She saw a new electric scooter hire service and fancied giving it a try. So, at the beginning of the workshop, she asked everyone to describe to a partner how they had got to the session that evening and what way they would have liked to have arrived.
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What if communication goes right?

What if communication goes right?

A fellow facilitator described how he had worked with a high-performing team and tested the team with an activity with which some of you may be familiar. It's called ‘Telephone’ and it involves each player in the team passing a mimed
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Your storytelling is more than just the story

Your storytelling is more than just the story

Your storytelling is more than just the story "The art of storytelling is centred on the storyteller's involvement with character and plot. He cannot, in James Joyce's words, sit back godlike and pare his fingernails. He must have an attitude towards the contents of...

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Getting beyond the fear when we drop our scripts

Getting beyond the fear when we drop our scripts

I’m always glad to see new books about applying improvisation. From a random dip, there’s a lot to like in Jeff Katzman and Dan O’Connor’s ‘Life Unscripted’. I was particularly looking forward to this one as I’ve enjoyed watching Dan perform and was glad to see he might be combining an improviser’s insight with those of his psychotherapist co-author.
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