When we think of a jazz band we know that improvisation is the backbone of their performance. When we haven’t had any time to do grocery shopping and have to prepare dinner for the whole family, we tap into improvisation to create a dish with just what we have.
Many think of improvisation is unscripted comedy or spontaneous theatre.
"Improvisation teaches you how to think on your feet and how to react and adapt very quickly to unexpected events and things you may not have planned for." L. Balachandra.
Improvisation is demonstrating resourcefulness and focus in resolving a complex situations with what we have, with what life presents us with. It is fundamental to build agility and to adapt to the dance of life without betraying one’s purpose. It is the glue for self-leading, and highly collaborative organisations.
"A perfect game plan is helpful, as long as you’re willing to give it up." Pep Guardiola.
The process of improvisation gives us the knowledge of creativity, focus, and critical thinking. It passes through deep listening and acceptance to then building on that. In business terms it means accepting the ideas or challenges that are brought to the table to then take them further and innovate.
MIT studies reported that Improvisation might be simply a natural response to unexpected problems or new challenges. Or it might be part of a deliberate strategy for a team that understands that its product and project objectives will likely change during the course of the project. In either case, a team that is more skilled at improvisation will likely have a performance advantage in a dynamic environment.
Improvising means cultivating the ability to react with agility, creativity, and flexibility. It also means developing a mindset that includes curiosity and resilience and, suspends judgement.
How can we foster more improvisation in our lives without feeling anxious or un-prepared?
I believe that is through practice. Think for example of the practice sport players go through with diligence, commitment and the awareness, exemplar sport players have, that when they enter the field, when the match starts, they can only count on that practice and being present to play their best game. Players and coaches must constantly adapt their tactics on the pitch. Although improvisation might seem to be spontaneous and intuitive, to do it well requires the development of a practice.
With the idea of supporting others to develop a creative practice in their lives I wrote Freevolution, a journal packed with creative exercises to spark imagination and urge for improvisation. Imagine a year long exploration of yourself and your world and the chance for real insight and long-lasting change...if intrigues you check Freevolution here.