Archives for posts with tag: games


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

Pretend for a moment that work is a creative playground, and we are all on it.

Which of these eight different “Play Personalities” would describe you, your colleagues, managers, clients?

The Joker

Revels in practical jokes, pranks and stunts. Always pulling people’s leg. Hardly ever serious, and/or hard to tell sometimes. Sense of social acceptance dependent upon making others laugh.


The Kinesthete

Someone who needs to move. A high degree of athleticism is built into his/her routine. Enjoys physical antics and displays of derring do.


The Explorer

Always poking around for the next cool thing in the universe. Never bored because there’s so much to do and see. Catch phrase is “I wonder…”


The Competitor

Wants to master any game. A natural maestro, attracted to virtuosity in others. Enjoys going over the rules to improve play, i.e. to WIN.


The Director

Plans and executes scenes and events. Born organizers of other people. Often a charismatic instigator of fun, he/she can hold the dynamic epicenter of a social space.


The Collector

Thirsts for the best and most interesting. Likes arranging and systemizing. Often travels far and wide to satisfy his/her impulses.


The Artist

Finds joy in creating something new. The quintessential “maker.” Sensitive to color, shape and texture. Likes getting things to look and feel just right.


The Storyteller

Always imagining new scenes. Enjoys perfecting his/her reality through playful augmentation. Invites others into situations and events to watch them unfold.

Granted, most of us are a mix of several of these, a Play Personality Parfait, if you will. The dominant stripes are basic archetypes to tap into for greater self-awareness. Learning them can also help identify the most effective ways to interact with others. I am experimenting with the concept of Play Personalities to understand high-level motivations for pulling out people’s greatness.


Inspired by PLAY: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, MD with Christopher Vaughn, (c) 2009

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