All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation…

Posted on 26 April 2013

According to a 2010 IBM survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, “chief executives believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity.” (See “IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success”.)

Improv: A tool for creativity

I perform with People’s Liberation Improv, an improvisation (or improv) group in Hong Kong, and I and many other improv performers around the world have found that improv is a very effective tool for helping people to develop their creativity and thrive in a complex, volatile, unpredictable world. Improv is also great for developing skills in leadership, teamwork, trust, communication, selling, risk-taking, thinking on your feet, problem-solving, embracing failure and dealing with change – all valuable skills in business.

In fact, many improv performers and groups around the world teach workshops for companies, non-profit organisations and community groups about how the principles and mindset of improv apply to life, business and group dynamics. We call that concept “applied improv”, and there’s an international organisation called the Applied Improvisation Network. Improv is even taught in many leading MBA programmes around the world.

Applied improv workshop

Yes, and… Participants at an applied improv workshop presented by People’s Liberation Improv at the Hong Kong Fringe Club, June 28, 2011

Some resources for you about improv, applied improv, creativity, play, innovation…

Over the past few years, I’ve compiled a humungous list of resources (newspaper and magazine articles, blog posts, videos…) about improv and applied improv, and more generally about the related topics of creativity, play and innovation. And I keep finding new goodies every day.

Recently, in response to a request from someone on the Facebook group page of the Applied Improvisation Network, I extracted a shorter list of what I think are the most useful resources, and I’ve decided to share it with the world. For free. Enjoy!

Here it is (it’s 16 pages long!):
All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation…

[Oops, sorry, the link to the list of resources isn’t working and I haven’t yet figured out how to fix it.
If you want the list, please email me and I’ll send it to you. Kay, July 29, 2020]

Want a sneak peek of that list? Here are some of my favourite articles and videos

  1. “TEDxAlbany – Kat Koppett – Improv – Not Just For Comedy Anymore” (video, 18m 13s)
  2. “Unpacking applied improv” by Applied Improvisation Network member Viv McWaters
  3. “Improvising Creativity” by Douglas Eby (it includes a 6m 47s video with Tina Fey)
  4. “Collaborate to Create” – a TEDx talk by British improv performer and corporate trainer Neil Mullarkey (video, 13m 5s)
  5. “Why leading business schools are turning to applied improvisation – Times report” by Applied Improvisation Network member Paul Jackson
  6. “It’s Not Quite Funny Or Die, But Improv Works To Fuel Powerful Innovation” by Lydia Dishman
  7. “Five Innovation Lessons from Improv Comedy” by Woody Bendle
  8. “Tell New Stories: Andrew McMasters and Andre Golard” – a TEDxRainier talk about the lessons of improv for daily life (video, 6m 11s)
  9. “Improv 101: The Key to Thinking Fearlessly” by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd
  10. “Creativity in Business: Bringing Your Whole Brain to Work” – a video (29m 55s) with Michelle James
  11. “Comedy in Business: What Improv Can Do For Your Team” by Julia Camenisch
  12. “Wanted: Idea Fusers” by Bronwyn Fryer
  13. “A Crash Course on Creativity” by Jessica Stillman (it includes a 40m 32s video with Tina Seelig)
  14. “John Cleese on the 5 Factors to Make Your Life More Creative” by Maria Popova (including a video, 13m 35s)
  15. “state of create study – Global benchmark study on attitudes and beliefs about creativity at work, school and home” from Adobe
  16. “Fast Company – Storytelling & Creative Process Tips from the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012” by Mike Brown
  17. “Creativity as a Life Skill: Gerard Puccio at TEDxGramercy” (video, 18m 45s)
  18. “How Serious Play Leads To Breakthrough Innovation” by Bruce Nussbaum
  19. “Seth Godin on Why Business Leaders Should Think Like Artists” by Bryan Elliott (with a video of Bryan’s interview with Seth, 44m 27s)
  20. “10 Practices from the Most Innovative Organizations” by David Burkus

And here are three blog posts that I’ve written about improv and applied improv

  1. “Thriving in Uncertainty – The Promise of Improv”
  2. “How To Succeed In Business: Improvise!”
  3. “34 Reasons To Learn Improv”

(They’re included in the 16-page document.)

I’d love to hear your comments

  • Is my list useful to you?
  • Would you like to recommend other resources that I can include in the next edition of the list?
  • Do you perform with an improv group?
  • How do YOU apply the principles and mindset of improv to your life and business?
  • Do you teach applied improv workshops? If so, how do you educate and persuade your potential clients about the value and relevance of improv? And what kind of results have participants and companies reported?
  • Do you have any questions?

Please post a comment below or send me an email. And if you love improv, follow me on twitter: @kayross.


4 responses to All About Improv, Applied Improv, Creativity, Play, Innovation…

  • Wonderful. Many thanks for sharing!

  • Robert Lowe says:

    Hi Kay: I really like your short list yet I still can’t open the complete list. I am retired yet maintain an interest in the field and may have additional references. Thanks for your help in advance. Robert

    • kay says:

      Thanks Robert! Do you mean that the link to the PDF of the full 16-page list doesn’t work? If so, sorry, I’ll fix that. And I can email the PDF to you if you want.

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