Researching applied improv – a project for 2014
Even a cursory look at this blog will reveal my interest in improvisation. It started with Playback Theatre and ranged far and wide around different improvisation styles. Most improv happens on the stage, in theatres and bars. I enjoy this type of improv performance AND I’m also interested in how it can be applied off the stage – in communities, organisations and companies.
The biggest misunderstanding about improv is that it’s all about humour, about being funny.
The biggest secret about improv is that anyone can learn the approaches that underpin it.
The biggest fear about using improv is that you’ll look foolish in front of others.
The biggest untapped use of improv is helping people to do their work when they don’t know what’s going on around them.
The biggest question about improv is…
I don’t know.
That’s why I’m starting a research project to uncover some of the questions about applied improv, collect some data through interviews, identify some themes and questions that emerge from that and then see where that leads me. Maybe I’m developing a new form of research: improvised research (though most researchers I know would argue that all research is improvised). My friend Bob Dick gave me this advice: “It seems to me that researching an under-researched area is like managing complex change. I therefore assume that wherever I start will be the wrong place, because I don’t yet understand enough to know where to start. That indicates that my best strategy is to start anywhere promising, and make it up as I go along.”
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m starting, and I’ll make it up as I go along.
Feel free to add any questions you’re curious about, or let me know if you’d be up for a free-ranging chat about applied improv.