As we open up the Spokane School of Improv, you are going to hear us talking a lot about applied improv. Most people do not know this phrase. They hear improv and think comedy but by the end of this article I hope you think of improv as life and life as improv.
Basically, applied improv uses the principles, skills, and mindsets of improvisational theater in non-theatrical settings. This use of improv can result in personal and professional development, team building, creativity, innovation, well-being, and change. It can be used in any industry including education, law, healthcare, business, management, or just fill in your industry here. We can show you what it can do. Our Improv for Lawyers class that we are developing is an example of how improv can help with your professional development.
But it is not just for career development. It is also for personal growth. For example, we are offering a poetry class that combines the best elements of improv and poetry to make a class that can inspire you to write something new. We are also offering a class on improv and self-care. Applied improv can help you tap into your creativity and see things in new and different ways.
I see applied improv as having seven key principles which are as follows:
Yes, And: A powerful approach for creating dynamic and engaging teams. You learn to build on the ideas of others rather than ignoring them. This principle encourages collaboration and the acceptance of the contributions of others.
Active Listening: Being completely present in the moment and focused on what is happening and being said. You engage all your senses to listen. You also respond appropriately in a way that recognizes your partner or team and respond in a way that honors them.
Support: Creating a safe and supportive environment for people to explore and create new ideas. We build one another up rather than tear them down. We want to make your partner look good.
Risk Taking: We realize failure is an option and that with the proper support we can try anything. Failure is a natural part of the creative process. We embrace it rather than fear it.
Be in the Moment: We stay focused in the present and let go of distractions, preconceptions, and our ego. We are fully engaged with our partner or team.
Co-creation: Our best creations are done in collaboration with others. When this happens, it is not always possible to breakdown exactly who contributed what to the project. Everyone feels like they contributed to the project.
Embrace Ambiguity: Learning is not always easy and it can sometimes make us feel uncertain about previous ideas while unsure about new ideas. It is about being open to the unexpected and being willing to adapt to changing circumstances even when we are not sure where we are going.
These principles will be explored in future articles. I hope this helped give you a sense of what applied improv is and why we are so passionate about sharing it with you through our new classes.