The 12 rules of impro

May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am currently the lead facilitator of an Inquiry into Creativity within a international manufacture and retail company. The nine-month Collaborative Inquiry enables a closed group of 14 people from across the company – from front-of-house and production lines through to Directors and family owners – to explore how the company’s successful history of creativity can be maintained and strengthened in leaner economic times.

As well as facilitator I am also a co-Inquirer within the group. My intent within the current inquiry cycle is to take on the rules of improvisation theatre and make them a daily habit. This emerged from a fantastic session on Impro that my co-facilitator and Oasis colleague Claire Maxwell led at our most recent Inquiry session.

The 12 rules that sClairehe introducd are:

  1. Look beyond the words
  2. Make the other person look good – it’s not all about you
  3. Give information to your partner
  4. Don’t think
  5. Accept all offers – say ‘yes’
  6. Don’t block or deny others
  7. Be present in the here and how
  8. There’s no such thing as a bad idea
  9. Be flexible and be changed
  10. Trust the wisdom of your body
  11. Co-create – don’t script in advance
  12. Listen carefully and with an open mind

Within the last few days, I’ve had the chance to practice the following:

Make the other person look good – in a conversation with an expert in Appreciative Inquiry…

Be flexible and be changed – as part of a planning group overseeing 400 walkers in York arriving for a fundraising event…

Be present in the here and now – as I co-facilitated a group of managers on Oasis’s Tools for Change programme.

I’m not claiming any expertise – indeed, I’m recognising that I have much to learn from these impro rules which could benefit me in my personal as well as my professional life. Particularly they (for me) bring alive the principles of collaboration: the days of thinking that I can achieve anything alone are long gone in this complex and fast-changing world we live in,and without alliances one cannot hope to shape and enact effective responses for individuals and organisations.

So that’s the hypothesis!, and this Inquiry cycle offers me a chance to test the theory and to bring some at times much needed creativity into my daily relationships with others.

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