3 Exercises Proving Improvisation Can Benefit Your Organization


Remember the dreaded day in your high school speech class where you had to give impromptu speeches? Yes, it may have been a day we’ve all had nightmares about since, but it turns out adding a little improvisation to your organization may be just the thing you’re missing.

Beth Kanter covered a leadership retreat led by David Havens from Collective Capital in her latest blog post. Havens led the group in a series of exercises designed to teach necessary skills for leaders in a networked organization. Here are the three important steps to reaching full improvisation potential within your organization:

1) Notice

In this section of the exercise, everyone was to close their eyes and describe what parts of the room he or she was in. This was to notice things like color, lighting, windows, etc. This is the step in which you become truly aware of what you are not taking into account when your eyes are open. Be more mindful of the environment surrounding you within your organization, and you will be off to the races.

2) Accept

The second exercise was about celebrating failure. In this step, everyone worked with a partner and alternated counting to three. Then, it became more complex with the addiction of claps, snaps and stomps. Everybody messed up, and was instructed to do a “failure bow.” This is all about taking a mistake and learning from it. As a nonprofit professional, there will always be mistakes made and tough times had. It is most important to always take your “failure bow” and move on. There is only going up from there.

3) Build

 The last exercise focused on co-creating. Everyone was split into small groups and started a sentence with the phrase “Let’s have a party and bring…” The first response had to be ‘no,’ the second response was ‘yes, but,’ and the third was ‘yes, and.’ The energy differences in the responses will be noticeably different, and it will truly teach people to create something together. Within an organization, it is so important to be willing and able to collaborate with others on ideas and plans. One person simply cannot do it all.

About the Author:

 Elizabeth (Libby) Hewitt is a junior at the University of Iowa, studying Journalism & Mass Communications and Studio Art. She is hoping to pursue a career in Public Relations after attending graduate school.


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