We teach exercises and games taken from the world of improvised comedy, and use them as a framework to make teams and individuals more creative.
You get great fun, energetic and interactive sessions led by the UK’s best and most experienced improvisation coaches.
So what do we teach exactly?
In a nutshell: how to generate lots of brilliant ideas!
Great ideas are produced by individuals working together. Great ideas come from teams having productive creative meetings. And they come from people having great conversations around the office.
Brilliant brainstorms and creative conversations are supported by two key skills: LISTENING and saying “YES AND…”.
And these two skills are what we focus on in our workshops.
Everything we say contains “offers”. In improv, the word “offer” is used to describe an opportunity to develop an idea. It’s a bit of information, a notion, a phrase, that acts like a launching pad for a brilliant idea.
Often these offers are deliberate. But sometimes they are accidental: we unintentionally say something that someone else finds interesting and runs with.
Big Ideas come from developing small offers step by step from acorn to oak tree. But you can’t develop an offer if you haven’t heard it.
Sounds obvious, what’s the big deal?
Well, the trouble is most of us are actually bad listeners. And we don’t realise it.
It’s very easy not to listen properly. For example, say you are going to a creative meeting about a certain issue. You think you’ve got the answer. So the meeting essentially turns into a waiting game whilst you politely “listen” to others take their turn to present their idea, but are essentially just passing time until you can say your piece. You aren’t interested in developing other people’s ideas, you are barely taking in any of the information. You are stuck in your head, obsessing about your idea.
Thus often in brainstorms we stop becoming listeners and become salesmen instead. Trying to control the conversation stops the exploration and this is not a productive route to creativity.
The secret to avoiding the natural human disposition to listen poorly is firstly, self-
Hearing offers is just the start. When you’ve heard your colleague’s offer, you need to accept it optimistically and then help build on it. The alternative to saying “yes, and…” is to block by saying “no” or “yes, but…”. This stops an idea dead.
Blocking is disheartening to the person who has made the offer, which is unhelpful to a creative culture. But not only that, it’s also very wasteful: that is an idea that could have made you money.
Further, it’s not just about accepting someone’s offer, but how you accept it: accepting enthusiastically creates an atmosphere of collaboration. Imagine if you came back from work and your partner had made you a lovely lasagne, and you replied “great” in a monotone. Suddenly that doesn’t feel like saying “yes” at all.
One reason why people “block” is that they get the creative process in the wrong order. Improvisation teaches the importance of the suspension of judgement. Criticism should be the last step in the process, not the first.
We’re often disadvantaged when it comes to generating good ideas because we think too fast: our analytical brains shut off new ideas before they have fully emerged, in order to keep us safe and resist change. Too often we dismiss situations as problems, or as flawed, instead of twisting it, and reframing it as an unexpected opportunity.
Don’t kill an idea before it’s fully formed!
Improv is excellent at creating hundreds of new ideas from scratch. Improv and playfulness puts criticism and judgement on hold in order to open up, share ideas, and come up with ideas.
Later on in the process we can deliberately put back in criticism and judgement in order to use team members intellect and experience to pick the best ideas and move them forward to create finished competitive products.
We will take participants through the full creative process, so they are left with a thorough understanding of how improv, playfulness and creativity can be used in the workplace and where it stands in the overall creative process.
“Everyone who attended couldn't be more positive, everyone loved your energy and style!”
Chelsea Parsons, Media Arts Lab (Apple’s internal ad agency)
“A smash hit. The feedback has been really amazing.”
Natalie Broom, AMV/BBDO
"You are brilliant at your job"
Thea Tomison, KPMG
"Inspiring and hugely relevant to how we work"
Torvald de Coverly Veale, Director, Boots
Olaf Dehnbostel, Unilever
“Great, great, great job!”
Sarah Hughes, McDonalds
“You really rocked it as ever, and I have heard nothing but good from the participants. Once again, thanks again for a splendid couple of workshops, it's always one of the highlights of the term.” Gareth Mitchell, Lecturer, Science Communication, Imperial College.
“Inspiring, hilarious and richly rewarding. The workshop brightened up everyone's morning, it got everyone out of their comfort zone and into a place where we were interacting and chatting in ways we had never done before, but everyone found tremendously engaging. The whole experience was a true pleasure and hugely helpful.”
“Max and Steve's session was brilliant ... witty, absorbing and most of all great fun. They offer an amazing insight into how we can all use the skills of our favourite comedians to explore greater depths of creativity and uncover the big ideas upon which our business thrives. Several weeks have gone by and we're still talking (and laughing) about it!”
Rob O’Donovan, founder of youth brands agency The Eleven
“One of the best things I’ve done at ITV!” Jon Block, ITV
“The only team-
Matthew Jones, Teva