Aug 7, 2017
If you have been thinking of Improv as something you only see on
shows like Saturday Night Live or a theater, think again.
Hough, CEO of the ImprovEdge has been
helping individuals and companies use Improv to be industry
leaders. In a recent interview, Karen shares real life
examples of how organizations and their leaders effectively manage
change, competition and failure by using Improv techniques like
“Thinking Upside down”.
7 Ways You Can Use Improv To Gain A
- Look outside your industry for inspiration. So
often when companies evaluate innovation the tendency is to first
look first inside their industry. Karen shares how King
Hawaiian Bread company looked to Amazon and Medical device
companies to find ways to retain high quality and increase
productivity and in the end through technology lowered the cost to
produce their bread.
- Be inquisitive. In another example of how to
look for creative ideas, Karen suggests we should ask questions
about a product like “What could be different way to surprise and
delight our customer”? This type of thought process opens windows
to unexpected solutions.
- Talk with non-experts. Some of the best ideas
come from people who don’t know the business or goals and they
offer totally fresh concepts.
- Use observation. Really look around and take
it all in before making a decision. What are people saying,
doing and looking for to solve their problem. Whether you are
trying to sell a product or service, being in tune, present and
really listen first are keys to developing innovative ideas.
- Ask open ended questions. This is especially
powerful on the trade show floor with face-to-face marketing.
Instead of saying “How are you” or “Hello” when an attendee
approaches, try an open ended question like “Tell me more”.
When you ask, listen and observe the outcome will be much
- Change how you view failure. Athletes and
Improv actors share one thing in common: resilience. The key is not
to build up and create a great big failure, rather respond to the
little failures along the way and move on. We need to not be
so risk adverse that we don’t try something because we fear the
“Failing is part of the landscape of innovation”- Karen
Hough, CEO ImprovEdge
- Be prepared for anything. Preparation is one
of the most important steps you can take to be ready to
improvise. Write out your goals, what outcome do you want
from a meeting, a trade show conversation or a one-on-one meeting
with your boss? Determine first the one thing you want to get
out of the meeting and then practice what you are going to say out
loud before your meeting.
In her upcoming book “Go
With It: Embrace the Unexpected to Drive Change”, Karen shares
examples of how using the principles of process of listening,
agreeing, and discussing an idea so that you can apply the Improv
technique to your personal and professional life.
Resources: Karen’s recommended book
“Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiations—and
Positive Strategies for change” by Linda Babcock and Sara
To learn more about Karen Hough and find valuable resources like
the “Yes Deck” check out ImroveEdge.com
Credits: A big thank you to Christy Haussler of
Team Podcast for editing
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