Organizational Development

Confessions of a Creative Ball Hog

By Jen Neumann on June, 1 2017
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(AKA - what Improv Taught is Teaching Me)

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I started taking improv classes through our local community theater earlier this year. While my kids like to say I'm having a mid-life crisis (admittedly, I also signed up for a six week class on rain gardens at the same time - they may have something there), my objective was to recharge my creative batteries and get some practice thinking on my feet. I have to admit that sometimes I feel a little "depleted."

In our company, we all get a chance to give input to the creative process. It's part of the magic of our open office environment and we call it our Collective Creative - because all of us are more creative than one of us. Together we problem solve, we build off of each other and we help each other with our clients' projects. As I like to say, we are all up in each other's business here. Especially Ryan. 

What I actually learned was that I am a creative ball hog. Not that I didn't know this at some level, but I had one of those rare and humbling "aha" moments when I realized accepted I was not always being a team player, despite my rhetoric on its importance. 

Improv isn't about being the funniest person, or having the most creative comebacks. Improv, the way I've been learning it, is about a give and take. It's about taking what your teammate gives you, building upon it, and giving them back something they can build on. It's about keeping it going until the scene comes to a natural conclusion.

"Yes, and..." I knew the concept, but I hadn't thought about how I use it professionally. 

When we are spitballing an idea around the ping pong table, I often find myself pushing too hard for my own concepts. I've shut down the process on occasion often, instead of being open to ideas.

Know what happens when you shut down the process? The creativity shuts down. The scene ends.

I started this class with the intention of becoming more creative, but what I learned was that the creative process is better when it's run like an imrov exercise - in collaboration and partnership - with the goal that the team, not the individual, wins. Now, instead of throwing out an idea and expecting a "Yes Ma'am," I'm much more open to the "Yes, and." 

de Novo's Collective Creative helps our clients find new ways to reach their intended audience and meet their goals. Looking for a creative strategy to spark your next campaign? Let's bounce some ideas! 

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