This August in full summer, I went home to see my future. The Applied Improv Network conference in SoCal at University of California Irvine gave me a whole new idea on how to create a Culture of Philanthropy for arts nonprofits who want to develop strong support for their purpose. The AIN17 experience was positive and mind-expanding. The day I returned I gave notice. I had seen a future that was possible, drawing on the very art form that has served me as a form of personal therapy and creative retreat since 2009.
Improv is for everyone.
Social anxiety is all about inhibition and self-censorship, and that is exactly what improv helps flip around. Flow and play for creativity, imagination, and intuition all contribute to these benefits of improv:
• Think and act beyond assumptions
• Become a better listener
• Approval/Disapproval Syndrome
• Communications Skills
• Connect Authentically
• Spark Creativity
• Ignite Imagination
• Recognize thought patterns
• Face self-critical thoughts
• Concentration and memory
• Lighten Up
“There are people who prefer to say ‘Yes’ and people who prefer to say ‘No’. People who say ‘yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have. People who say ‘no’ are rewarded by the safety they attain.” ~ Keith Johnstone, author of Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre.
My new path toward creating a new way to develop a Culture of Philanthropy has involved many visits to the Library. Reading up on current thinking in management, I found that my old favorite Daniel Pink has been writing a lot since A Whole New Mind in which he recommended practicing improv to develop your right brain and left brain collaborations.
In his newest book, To Sell is Human, Pink reveals Atlassian Corporation, a company that requires its employees to read Impro by Keith Johnstone. Impro is a rich tale of the socialization and individualization that we go through in school and learning acceptable behavior in general. In To Sell is Human, Pink even provides some games and tells of his own insightful experiences in improv classes.
In Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink tells of ‘the oxygen of the soul’ which is ‘flow’, a place of purpose, autonomy, and mastery. Flow can come in practicing improv, and as we explored at AIN17, we knew more than ever that improv can be used for good in building organizations.
“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible,” Dan Pink writes.
Exploring the polarities of engagement and compliance, algorythmic and heuristic kinds of work, evolution and the status quo, Dan Pink gives us answers explaining the dysfunctions of the workplace. Drive’s central idea is the mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Pink calls for us to “listen to the research, drag our business and personal practices into the 21st Century, and craft a new operating system to help ourselves, our companies, and our world work a little better.”
Folks, we need to Fail Better. Click here for my article on The Failure Chronicles: Learn to Fail Better .
Balboa Back-Bay, Newport Beach, and Balboa Island, Oh My! All gave that taste of beautiful summertimes past when these parts were my home neighborhoods. There I am on the Balboa Pier.