Applied Improvisation is using concepts, methods and attitudes developed for stage actors in improvisational theatre. Because in improvisational theatre, people work together to create an innovative product which inspires them and others. The basis are principles which strengthen positive behaviours and overcome negative mental blocks, thereby contributing to the development of an “agile” mind set.
This is why Applied Improvisation trains spontaneity, creativity, care, empathy and inventiveness and moreover, enables trustful cooperation.
The means and methods of improvisational theatre thereby train exactly those behaviours which foster effective communication, collaboration, inspiration, the recognition and development of other peoples’ ideas and continuous learning.
Claudia Hoppe’s work both as a trainer and as a coach is based on these means and principles of improvisation. Personal development therefore plays a central part in Claudia’s workshops.
For me, the top three lessons to be learned from applied improvisation are:
The main idea and attitude both in improv theatre and applied improvisation is to accept anything (be it an offer, a fact – or even a colleague 😉 ) and to say “Yes”. This doesn’t at all mean accepting every order and direction unquestioned – but accepting the current circumstances as they are (and on a relationship level that means: accepting your colleague the way s/he is).
In a second step, something is added on top of the offer. This step prevents standstill and enables a sense of activity and self-efficiency. This is where it becomes creative! The “Yes, and…” allows us to focus on what lies ahead, instead of getting caught up in what is missing from the past.
Most people avoid mistakes like the plague. But mistakes can be gifts! Many of mankind’s best inventions have been made by “mistakes” and meanders (porcelain, Roquefort cheese, penicillin – to name just a few). In improv theatre, we use “mistakes” exactly like that: By incorporating them into our play. This removes dread of the mistakes, even more: They are integrated into the play in such a way that they no longer look like mistakes. It’s all a matter of perspective. In applied improv, we’re taking the perspective of actively using mistakes and laughing about them – because mistakes contain a huge potential for innovation!
Let your partner shine!
This is all about shifting your (mental) focus, i.e. your attention away from yourself (what do I look like? Did I do that correctly? What am I going to do next?) to your partner, i.e. the other person. This means you have to ask yourself: How is s/he doing right now? What could I do so that both of us can move on together? The assumption here is: My partner, colleague or any other person is just as interested in finding a good solution to the current situation as I am. So, why not work towards the common goal together, by accepting and respecting his or her ideas? It’s all about finding a solution together, instead of enforcing your own ideas at all costs. This attitude enables cooperation and corporate problem solving.