Applied Improv - Yes, and…

Purpose: Practising improvisation is a great way to build a constructive mindset when getting into brainstorm phases. The appreciative nature of applied improvisation enables us to silence the voice of judgement when we need to hear all ideas and perspectives without filtering or evaluating them. Applied improv also reminds us that coming up with new ideas can be fun and playful and forces us to appreciate all that is shared in a group.

Applied improv is based on three principles:

  1. Use everything / All that exists in our reality has worth and can be useful

  2. Notice more (Creativity comes when we are more aware and sensitive about what’s in front of us and everything around it)

  3. Let go

Time : 20-30 minutes

Step one: Explain the importance of collaborating and sharing ideas in a non-judgemental way. Share the three principles and how they relate to this work.

Step two: Ask a volunteer (or ask someone before hand) to help you demonstrate how the game works. Follow this scenario:

Player one: Let’s go….(do something).

Player two: Yes! What I like about your idea is _____________, let’s ____________.

Player one: Yes! What I like about your idea is _____________, let’s ____________.

And so on….

Step three: Participants might find it difficult to get started or to keep going after a few responses. Let it play out. Silence or blockages are perfectly natural. In most cases, participants are energized and playful during the exercise. Get participants to try it out for approximately 5 minutes.

Step four: Get participants to start over again, but with a twist (ex: “Ignore all laws of physics.”, “Go crazy, anything is possible.”)

Step five: Ask participants to share insights and debrief about their experience. You may want to host this debrief with the whole group or have people create smaller groups to have the conversation. Pose questions like:

  • How did that work out for you?

  • How did you feel when going through the exercise?

  • What did you observe in your behaviour and your partner’s behaviour?

  • Were there any moments of judgement during the activity?