Michelle Holliday posted a blog today she called USING IMPROV TO SAVE THE WORLD, which was inspired by a workshop presented by Belina Raffy. Holliday does a nice job of explaining how, well, you can use improv to save the world.
More specifically, Holliday notes that “We never really know what’s coming at us next …”, yet the mechanistic worldview of most conventional businesses is based on the assumption that “we can predict and control everything”. This has never really been true, of course, but in our rapidly changing and increasingly volatile world, it is a dangerous assumption.
Nature survives not via “predict and control” but rather by “sense and respond”, always moving towards adaptable positive outcomes rather than pre-determined fixed objectives. As Holliday puts it,
“Living systems (like plants and people and companies) appear to be static things, but in fact, it’s more accurate to think of them as pattern and process. They create themselves continuously through ongoing interaction with their environment. And their environment is constantly throwing new, unpredictable things at them. So what do they do? They respond creatively and collaboratively to unexpected circumstances. … They improvise.”
For many, this is a hard concept to grasp. And even for those that understand the concept, it can be a real challenge to put into practice. This is where skills adapted from Applied Improvisational Theatre (applied improv) are tremendously helpful. Raffy does a superb job of teaching businesses and organizations how to respond dynamically and adaptively to rapid unpredictable changes under pressure – how to improvise – using techniques borrowed from Improvisational Theatre. These techniques are easy and fun to learn, immediately implementable with astonishingly quick results, and provide foundational skills for becoming a business inspired by nature.
If that weren’t motivation enough, Raffy suggests that “the overarching problems humanity faces are so complex and require such a high degree of creativity, collaboration and inspiration that improv may be the only effective means of solving them.”