Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity
The improv exercises we’ll use act like microcosms for the uncertain circumstances you’ll encounter every day in the world and thus offer a perfect framework to train our responses to it.
Improv players are comfortable existing within uncertainty: when they go on stage they simply have no idea what suggestions the audience will throw at them. There is no script. The show is different every time.
But improv performers thrive in this, seeing uncertainty as an adventure to be embraced, rather than a circumstance to be feared. And that is probably the most helpful part of the improv philosophy: always seeing opportunities to be taken, rather than problems to be escaped from.
Improv players throw away pre-conceived ideas in a heartbeat and exist and react in the moment as the situation unfolds before their eyes. And the way they do this successfully and consistently is simply because improvisers use a few simple ‘rules’. And we teach these rules.
Improv players believe in the philosophy that “everything is an offer”, that is, every new bit of information or feedback that the environment throws up is creative fuel. They see these opportunities by cultivating awareness: being present in the moment. That is, by listening actively, rather than being stuck in their pre-existing plans.
The trouble is, we can be blinded by the status-quo. The ‘but we’ve always done it like this’ mindset boxes in our perception, and means we miss both threats and opportunities.
Be more frog!
A frog can only see three things: clear lines of contrast, sudden changes and illumination, and outlines in motion. So, a frog only sees what it needs to eat and not be eaten: small, black insects; and big birds swooping down to swallow it. Everything else it boxes out. It sees only what it needs to see in order to survive. And so often as human beings we are focused on survival, of getting through the work day, of the tyranny of the ‘to do’ list and client demands. Therefore we miss many threats and opportunities right in front of us. Improv training helps us become more present. So that we can spot these challenges early and turn them into positives.
Improv players love uncertainty, they understanding that the randomising element of unpredictable suggestions from the audience, and scenes unfolding unplanned, can take them to places that linear thought never could. Therefore change often leads to creative leaps, and this should be celebrated not avoided.
Furthermore, possibly the greatest attitude of mind improv players have is a very positive view of failure and mistakes. These are often wonderful opportunities in scenes. This is relevant in business too. Some amazing things have come out of flops. For example, Instagram started life as a maps app for your phone called Burbn, but was a failure. The only part that was popular was a feature where you could upload photos of where you were. So, it was re-launched as a totally different product and was eventually bought by Facebook for a billion dollars.
In an uncertain world failure is inevitable. New products won’t work, marketing won’t connect, errors will be made. But improvisation can teach you to embrace it. To see the ‘little bets’ you make as an intrinsic part of a modern approach to business. And then we can use the debris of failure to build the next opportunity.
These ideas can seem like trite truisms. Ideas that we all agree with. But the exercises we’ll use will highlight the gap between theory and practice. And get participants to embody and experience the creative potential of mistakes and ‘failures.’
In short, improv teaches you to have a positive attitude to uncertainty and change: ACCEPT IT, CELEBRATE IT, THRIVE IN IT.
Thanks for the workshop. All the feedback has been extremely positive! The team loved it!
We walked away with communication techniques that will stick with us for a lifetime.
The skills you taught them will give them a real competitive edge in the market place.
Inspiring and hugely relevant to how we work.
I’ve used the communication skills learned at Hoopla to attract over $3m in venture capital for my start-up. And had fun doing it!
A smash hit. The feedback has been really amazing.
Improv has helped me to truly listen to what my clients want, understand their problems and then effectively work with others on my team to deliver a concise and consistent message.
My work is about helping clients be more creative and uncover different possibilities and develop them - which improv has really helped with.
Improv has supported my listening and support work for people I represent.
Improv is a great release to just mess around while building on the communication skills, confidence and self esteem that help me in my day to day job.
Really useful for building self confidence and being able to communicate better with people who I was meeting for the first time.
Improv helped me have more faith in myself, particularly in meetings with clients or senior stakeholders. I have more confidence that whatever comes out of my mouth will make sense and be of value.
I think improv makes people kinder to others and themselves. It teaches you to listen, react and support and I think everyone could benefit from more of that individually and collectively.