CASE STUDIES

Active used of applied improvisation and related techniques both in Australia and globally in workplace settings. Knowledge collated together to help you to drive successful outcomes

AUSTRALIAN

From Rebooter Group

CASTLEREAGH BOUTIQUE HOTEL

April-October 2023 (Sydney CBD)

Outcomes:

  • 17% increase in organic efficiency in room cleaning (equivalent to $83,000)
  • 16% increase in guest compliments
  • 10-20% increase in Overall Service score during the NeuroPlay program.

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SYDNEY CBD BUSINESS CHAMBER

Eat and Learn via Zoom (May 2022)

Outcomes:

Participants reported feeling and observing that they were:

  • happier,
  • more collaborative,
  • relaxed,
  • creative
Read More...

Introduction

In an innovative approach to fostering business collaboration and communication, the Sydney CBD Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a unique 90-minute session. Conducted over Zoom, this event brought together 10 of its members to engage in a series of interactive games. This case study delves into the insights and outcomes of this distinctive virtual gathering.

Event Overview

The session saw a diverse group of participants, with four of the ten attendees being female. Despite minor technical issues, including one member who could only listen due to internet problems and intermittent connectivity issues for the Chamber’s president, Peter May, the session smoothly progressed with all games played in a single group setting, ensuring inclusive participation.

The Games and Their Impact

Count to Ten: This ice-breaking game required coordination and attentiveness, with participants needing to reset upon simultaneous number calls. It took six rounds to successfully complete, highlighting the importance of listening and synchronization in teamwork.

Yes, And: Focused on building on others’ ideas, this game encouraged positive reinforcement and collaborative thinking.

One Word at a Time: The most challenging game, affected partly by technical difficulties. This exercise underscored the significance of clear communication and adaptation, with a proposed shift to three words at a time for future sessions.

I Have a Problem and One Up: These games re-energized the group, focusing on creative problem-solving and iterative improvement, respectively. Participants showed creativity and humor, particularly with the item ‘apple’ used in One Up.

Feedback and reflection were integral, with opportunities after each game for participants to share their takeaways.

Survey Insights

Post-event, a survey was conducted with seven responses received, covering a mix of business owners and employees. Key insights include:

  • Most Enjoyable Aspect: ‘The Yes Game’ and the element of fun were highlights for the participants.
  • Perceived Changes: Enhanced communication skills, refreshed knowledge, and a more relaxed, judgment-free attitude were commonly noted.
  • Implementation at Work: ‘Yes/And’ and ‘And Then…’ techniques were identified as practical tools for workplace situations, along with a more positive and fearless approach.
  • Emotional and Collaborative Boost: Participants reported feeling happier, more collaborative, relaxed, creative, and inclusive post-session. However, there was less emphasis on increased focus, communication, or productivity.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Overall, the session was positively received, with attendees showing interest in future participation. This interactive workshop model, as demonstrated by the Sydney CBD Chamber of Commerce, offers valuable insights for businesses aiming to enhance team dynamics, creativity, and problem-solving skills in a fun, engaging manner. It suggests that such interactive sessions can be a vital tool in fostering a more collaborative and innovative workplace culture.

As consulting firms like Deloitte, KPMG, and Boston Consulting Group emphasize, the integration of such creative team-building exercises can be a game-changer for businesses seeking to thrive in today’s dynamic environment. The experience of the Sydney CBD Chamber of Commerce serves as a testament to the potential of interactive, fun-filled workshops in enhancing team collaboration, communication, and overall business health.

Fintech (Debtor Management Platform)

Foundation Program (Apr-May 2020)

Outcomes:

Participants reported feeling and observing that they were feeling better working with each other, and this stemmed the tide of depersonalisation.

The team was able to collaborate at near the same level as before the pandemic.

Read More...

In the early months of 2020, Rebooter Group was approached by a fintech company located in the Sydney CBD to enhance communication within their marketing team. This engagement marked our inaugural client interaction as we were still refining our metrics measurement system.

The marketing team faced a significant challenge exacerbated by remote work during the Covid pandemic, leading to disagreements over collaborative approaches and jeopardizing team culture and cohesion.

Intervention:

Recognising the importance of effective communication and collaboration, the company sought assistance from Rebooter Group to address the issue. We designed a tailored program tailored to meet the unique needs of the marketing team.

Implementation:

Our intervention began with engaging and interactive applied improvisation sessions aimed at enhancing active listening, creative thinking, and empathy within the marketing team. Through experiential activities, team members were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and embrace perspectives from colleagues.

Outcomes:

Following the implementation of the program, significant transformations were observed within the marketing team. Team members gained a deeper appreciation for each other’s working styles and needs. Individuals acknowledged the value of flexibility and innovation, as well as the importance of structure and accountability within the marketing context.

Impact:

The improved understanding and collaboration within the marketing team resulted in tangible improvements in project outcomes and organizational performance. Enhanced communication and synergy enabled the team to leverage their strengths, leading to innovative solutions and business success. Applied improvisation techniques played a pivotal role in fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual respect within the marketing team.

Conclusion:

This case study demonstrates the transformative impact of applied improvisation in overcoming interpersonal challenges and promoting collaboration within the marketing team. By leveraging interactive training methods and fostering a culture of empathy and creativity, organizations can navigate communication barriers and unlock the full potential of their teams, driving innovation and achieving shared goals.

INTERNATIONAL

From international providers

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Simon Gomes, lawyer (acceptance over perfectionism; overcome 'Yes-But')

Improv has helped me in how I manage my team is especially improved my listening skills.
Whereas before, if I was in a meeting, I’d be obsessing about the agenda, trying to keep everything on track, and not really listening.
Now I’m in the room, engaging with people’s ideas, so I can understand and respond to them.
Also, I’ve removed but from my language, rather than responding to someone with Yes-But now I’ll say, “That’s really good, and have you thought about this?”
The idea is that we are building something together, as opposed to competing over who is right.
I am acutely aware now that the language you choose as an impact on others, if you use but will you think about is the next bit that follows.
The person just hears “No”.
But Improv is not saying yes to everything.
“I understand.” – Yes-And it’s about building a better version of what either of us has separately.
It’s still disagreement, but it’s productive.
It’s a healthier way of sharing your perspective with others.
Since I’ve met this simple change, people feed back to me that I am much more collaborative than I used to be.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Sarah McCandless, head of product (greater ability to read the room)

I learned more about myself through improv than any professional training course.
I’ve always known that listening is important.
But improv was the first time I was taught how to do it effectively.
I learned that listening isn’t about waiting your turn in a conversation, nor is it about focusing solely on the words you hear.
Improv taught me to pay attention to everything, which is particularly helpful when coaching my direct reports.
I learned to identify key information, themes and biases in people’s communication, which helps me to navigate sales conversations, to understand the stakeholders needs.
And once I learned to think critically about the status of the speaker, and its effect on those listening, which I use when working with regional teams to influence change, I’ve always held myself to high standards, which previously went hand in hand with a deep rooted fear of failure.
Improv has taught me to take risks and embrace situations when something goes wrong.
I learned to manage my emotions in these moments and move forward in a positive way.

This is critical to my current role heading up a department.
When something fails, people look to me for calm leadership.
Beyond this, improv has taught me to read a room and adapt whatever I’m doing based on the audience response.
I use this every day.
Whether I’m presenting at a conference, or introducing a new idea to my team, I’ve learned to quickly reflect on the effectiveness of my language, tone and expression, then make necessary adaptations to better engage my audience.
This is especially helpful when I’m upward managing and trying to influence change at the highest level in my organization.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Naomi Bellman, IT director within investment banking (elevating my status as a female to align with the predominantly male cohort)

I work in a heavily male dominated industry, and it’s still an old boys club.
I work mostly with men who have very high status, including traders and salespeople.
After doing improv training, I noticed speed of speech, volume, posture, eye contact, and overall physicality a lot more clearly, especially when meeting people for the first time.

If I adapt my own physicality and speech to match theirs, it puts me closer to the same level of status, and stops me feeling intimidated.

I spent the first six years of my career fighting to be recognized as someone who actually works there, rather than just a female, as I had to fight to be taken seriously before I could get on with my job.
Suddenly, matching status has helped to limit the amount of time I have to waste convincing people I can do my job, and means I can actually get on with it.
True high status also means being very relaxed about where you stand.
So when one man refused to acknowledge me, and only shook hands with and spoke to the man standing next to me, I walked away.
In the past, I’d have stood there and let his dismissive attitude affect my confidence.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

πŸ‡«πŸ‡· Zoey, assistant TV producer (increased confidence when pitching)

I work in digital TV content, think apps, quizzes, games, and all that stuff that sits alongside TV shows.
A lot of my job revolves around pitching new content ideas to clients.
But before improv, I was always the kind of person who would tail off in the middle of a sentence, because I didn’t have the confidence in my own idea.
Or I just wouldn’t share an idea at all, unless i’d 100percent fully formulated it in my head, which of course is not how creative ideation sessions work.
Since I’ve been Improvising.
I’ve learned to follow the impulse to speak in those sessions rather than meticulously planning out what I’m I’m going to say, I trust that I can start a sentence without knowing exactly where it’s going to go.
And that I will find an ending for it, even if it’s not perfect.
For instance, working on some Halloween content for a Kids TV channel, I started with the idea of a selfie filter where you open your mouth and the end of that sentence by the time I got to it turned out to be 1000s of tiny spiders crawled out.
Not super appropriate for a channel aimed at eight year olds.
But it did provide a jumping off point for what turned out to be a really cool augmented reality game idea.
Where pointing the phone camera at the TV screen during show made weird spooky skulls appear that started moving towards you.
And you had to swipe them away before they got you a million miles away from the weird place I started in.
But it couldn’t have happened if I’d been filtering myself.
No matter how it feels sometimes.
Nobody has all the answers in life.
Despite the confident badder knowledge of certain slick individuals, meetings and conversations are not scripted.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Kate O'Connor, advertising creative (yes-and brings more ideas)

It’s easy to dismiss ideas.
People are scared of looking silly.
So if an idea isn’t immediately brilliant, it’s easier to dismiss it.
But by doing that you often miss out on the little nuggets of a good idea. buried in a half baked idea in profits taught me to persevere and find the hidden magic in something a bit weird, daft unusual or obtuse.
When my team and I sit down to talk about a project in its early stages, Yes/And is the golden rule.
That way we can explore a concept and really work out if it could be fleshed out into a fully fledged ad campaign.
It’s an art not a science.
Often a brilliant advert ends up being greater than the sum of the brains that dreamed it up.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Courtney Williams, scientist (active listening makes presentations easier)

Doing improv has helped me to be more relaxed.
And think on my feet when attending scientific conferences, where I often have to speak to hundreds of people over several days about the work my organisation does.
This is not something I’m naturally good at.
But improv has helped me fake it to some extent.
Because now I focus more on listening to people and what they are contributing.
Rather than freezing up or following a mental script, it helps me to respond better to the moment.
But more than that, these conversations are a lot more rewarding for me now to, and hopefully also for those I’m speaking to rule three, ‘listen with your whole body’.

Max Dickins (14/7/2020), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Introduction’, Icon Books’, PDF

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