‘What about fun?’, I hear you ask. Does fun matter in the serious context of work? And is fun really at the heart of Applied Improvisation (AI)?
We know some people perceive AI as primarily a repertoire of activities suitable for generating fun. But if that turns out to be the popular impression, then it risks disqualifying AI from meaningful contributions to such weighty matters as culture change or teamwork in organisations.
That doesn’t mean that AI isn’t fun, or that it’s sensible for organisations to shun fun; just that fun for me and my clients is neither the principal objective of an AI intervention nor its most valuable outcome.
It’s satisfying when participants are enjoying themselves during a workshop or learning programme. It indicates engagement, so it’s useful for us as facilitators that fun is a consistent by-product of many of AI activities, even if not an explicit aim.
And that’s why I’m averse to presenting Applied Improvisation as being about fun. It undersells our work, which is (I’d like to propose) more significant than that… fundamental you could say.
Yes, participants really enjoy my workshop activities, and they love to see themselves rediscovering their creativity as they collaborate with colleagues in new ways. As they release tension and engender flow, the events produce many fun-ny moments. Beyond the process, the products and stories prompted by classic improvisation exercises are often entertaining and witty.
But the activities and the fun they generate are always in service of the aim of the programme, the needs of the team, the strategy of the organisation. And that matters.
To develop your own facilitation and improvisation skills – including the effective use of humour and fun, sign up to the waiting list of our ‘Inspirational Facilitator’ online course (new dates to be announced soon) for priority booking: Inspirational Facilitator Online Course (mailchi.mp)