+44 (0) 1727 843820 paul@impro.org.uk

We often notice improvisation when what we expect to happen doesn’t happen. Improvisers deal with the unpredicted (and for complexity fans, unpredictable), when a new circumstance prompts a fresh response (the improvisation) and something novel emerges.

One of the most useful aspects of an improvisational stance is this idea of emergence – that we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We can accept the implication in the complexity of our lives that change is always happening. That doesn’t mean we know nothing. Far from it. We bring all our resources and experiences with us into these new circumstances. Which is just as well, as we still have to operate – and we do – as we notice things ‘coming into view’.

A session using a facilitation format such as ‘Open Space’ – whether online or at in-person conferences – is an example of emergence in action. At one level, we don’t know what sessions will be proposed. At a deeper level, even when we know the session topics, we don’t know what conversations they will prompt; we only discover what people will say as they say it.

And that’s the beauty! It’s not all planned out and predictable. It’s the improvisation that provides the additional value. So let’s embrace Uncertainty, and hug it with engagement, rigour and attention.