Archives for posts with tag: business


On December 16th Arts Interstices hosted a conversation via Google Hangouts among dance and theater improv artists and Agilists from various parts of the US.  The following is a briefing on some essential themes this cross-sector dialogue uncovered regarding the serious interest business is taking today in this art form.

“Yes, And…”

People feel threatened when choices are unduly restricted.  With a narrow set of options, positions become entrenched and even the simplest conversation become difficult.   Saying “Yes, And…” (rather than “Yes, but..”) is widely acknowledged to be the first guideline of improv.  Experienced practitioners emphasize building upon the contributions others have already made, creating an expanded sense of possibility.

“Make Your Partner Look Good”

Imagine going into a meeting with a bad set of nerves anticipating critical scrutiny.  Now imagine going in alongside a colleague, shifting your focus to a total dedication to making that person shine as the most brilliant mind on earth.    Sea Tea Improv recommends practicing this kind of mutual support as a way to instill trust quickly and powerfully.

“Suspend Disbelief”

Improvisational scenes progress iteratively.   Starting with mundane circumstances and then taking the audience along on a journey by adjusting their expectations step by step is conducive to fantastic results.



One of the steps towards relaxing in a group is seeing oneself in others. That spark of recognition can be induced through the act of mirroring, used as an icebreaker in Annie Sailer’s movement exercises.

“Spatial Collaboration”

Knowledge workers have few conscious opportunities to read each other and respond nonverbally.  Even though these exchanges happen all the time at work, improvisational movement renders them intentional, slowing down the sequence of sensing, perceiving and choosing how to engage.

Just+at+Work+008Scrum Teams That Harmonize

Robie Wood led this workshop at the Paris Scrum gathering in September 2013 with his brother Jody Wood, a deeply experienced improv actor.  The description in the program reads: How can we positively charge and orient Scrum Team members toward effective participation in the conversations, activities and innovation necessary to deliver business value? Let’s get team members to Harmonize. To maintain team Harmony, we can draw on examples from the Arts where Harmony is sustained by using improvisation to adapt to changing complexity. The “Scrum Team that Harmonizes” workshop employs improvisation exercises from the Acting world that are designed to work on the specific skills needed by team members to perform effectively in each of the four types of Scrum Meetings.

Robie will host the next Hangout scheduled for later this month, and we’ll include international participants.   Further exchange will advance the dialogue and lay groundwork for intelligence-gathering and sharing of effective practices for how improv is being used today in business settings.   Practitioners can plug into this conversation by emailing or


Sea Tea Improv

Annie Sailer Dance Company


JW Actor’s Studio

Kicking off a series of two-part posts by pairing some of my thoughts about working with artists and a client’s notes about our work together. Look for similar posts here at Artbux every other Monday, and please submit your ideas for paired perspectives on collaboration. – Elinor Slomba, CSM


CONSULTANT’S PERSPECTIVE: In my administrative career – which began in 1994 – I have chosen to work alongside highly creative people. The ongoing effort to connect their great ideas with the resources needed to help actualize them has been the gist of my professional life so far. Mostly I have done this through the written word.

I LOVE artists! I love their vulnerability and sensitivity, and the strength of their convictions. I love how they see things others don’t. And so, in my case, as Kahlil Gibran says eloquently and with more than a grain of truth, “Work is love made visible.”

When you listen for the spaces between words and help someone who’s struggling with the seed of a new idea capture a coherent structure for his/her thoughts, it’s like having a superpower. So many amazing individuals are contributing their time and talent and intelligence – their very substance – to collective vitality right now…and running experiments using models proven viable in specific fields. I am proud to function as “glue” in the arts world and across sectors among them.


I appreciate the trust it takes to put your ideas into someone else’s hands and ask for help giving them form and expression. Whether or not it’s true what Daniel Pink says about connectors and synthesizers having a special place in civilization these days, and I like to think it is, helping artists be more successful is a permanently cool gig.

Meanwhile, jumps and twirls. Here’s to every day being different, with some more different than others. This hedge against conformity – respect for difference and celebration of meaning among differences whether stark or sublimely subtle – is the main, most substantive thing artists are expert at conjuring in our midst. It is extremely valuable to business. At this point in history, artists are selling what everyone else desperately needs.


ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE: Contributed by Helen N. Hanson

Until recently I had never experienced a truly inspirational collaboration. I took the opportunity to collaborate with Elinor Slomba.

Elinor is a storycraft consultant, and she is excellent at her job. Due to illness I have had to transfer from the medium of Acting to the medium of Collage. Same artist, different disciplines, different form of interpretation.

When I first started working with Elinor, I was a bit all over the place, scattered, and not quite sure how to move forward.

We have now worked together for several months and I am quite clear on the direction of my work, the discipline it requires to produce it, and the structuring of my time so that I work as an artist, I tend to my health, I practice meditation, and I practice Collage. Of course all at the same time, there is my family, our home, our pets, our bills, my dear and wonderful friends near and far. LIFE in big capital letters!

Elinor has introduced ideas that would not have occurred to me, she speaks better than I do, she represents me more articulately than I do and she listens well. She has consistently come up with innovative and unusual combinations that prove to be an excellent avenue of getting work out there.

We check in once a week; and in that meeting, we accomplish quite a lot of very fine work. it has been very interesting to listen to her knowledge of social media and her take on what’s a good combination of social media to drive the customer that is already looking for my work. I have learned the importance of navigating and always staying on task on the World Wide Web.

It took a bit of time to find my online limits.  It was a valuable lesson to learn. While I may have a ton of energy, my body, especially now when I am in a healing crisis, may need nothing more then rest and food/ or sleep.

It is been a true pleasure having Elinor as my storycraft consultant.  If you are an entrepreneur, an artist, a dancer, a blogger, a poet…etc., and want to take what you say and perhaps haven’t said clearly and put it out into the worldwide marketplace for thought and/or goods exchange, Elinor Slomba can assist you.


Cross-posted on Helen Hanson’s blog  –


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