Improv Problem Solvers
The fringe benefits of theatrical fun and games
It’s a simple fact: people who perform with improv theater troupes are more resilient at handling problems. But there’s more to it than being able to crack-up your coworkers. Improv-ers train themselves to think dynamically and to trust the people they work with.
As success in many work environments shifts away from producing physical things and toward concepting intangible interactions, the ability to generate new ideas becomes ever more valuable. Improvisational play dissolves the barriers between areas of knowledge, fostering strange mental leaps and the generation of creative ideas. The positive emotions associated with meaningful play help make people more receptive to new ideas and transformational opportunities.
But more than that, playful, improvisational employees are better equipped to create memorable experiences. Here at Real Art, we sometimes talk about the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments, those times when someone says “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we built a claw machine” or “wouldn’t it be cool if we sent someone to the satellite offices?” What ends up happening next is usually a variant of—the unintentionally stolen from improv—“Yes and.”
On the improve stage, the “Yes and” rule states that you take whatever the last person said, affirm it, and then make it even crazier. As executed at Real Art, it means that not only do we make a claw machine, we make it the biggest. Not only do we send someone to New York, we create a whole office exchange program. It means that whatever we do is going to be the most.
And like a troupe of improvers, the Real Art team works together to create a place where staff members feel comfortable taking risks and speaking up. We have the privilege of “Yes and”-ing because we know that whatever wacky idea we spin out, we have a whole team to back us up and “yes and” right back.