Improvisation is a skill practiced by everyone, every single day. At Oak and Reeds, our definition of "improv" is the practice of unplanned interaction with others. As much as we would like to rehearse and practice our lines for critical moments, there's no script sitting on our desk each morning, outlining all the things we'll say and do throughout the day.
Which skills are you looking to develop?
Our clients are...
One of the most valuable parts of completing an MBA program is the post-graduate alumni networking. At a recent gathering of Chicago-area Kellogg graduates, Oak and Reeds presented an “Intro to improv for listening, collaborating and presenting” to give alums a chance to meet each other, exchange ideas and learn new skills they could bring back to their respective companies. Read more...
Many San Francisco startups share the challenge of having permanently remote team members that are only occasionally in the office. At Jhana, a talent software start-up in San Francisco, the full team of ~25 employees is only 100% present in person about once a quarter. Oak and Reeds was brought in during a quarterly “all-hands” event to lead the team through a half-day “Improv for Business” team building workshop. Read more...
“Embrace failure!” is not a typical (or advisable) mindset for a medical professional. It is, however, a great mantra for an executive looking to break new ground and innovate in a competitive industry like medicine. Dignity Health’s leadership development program helps doctors prepare themselves for future executive leadership roles. To help with that transition, the Dignity Health program brought in Oak and Reeds to lead the group through a workshop on how to apply improv-based leadership frameworks in their day to day management work in hospitals. Read more...
College Sports Programs
Division-one scholarship athletes are accustomed to achieving perfection. At a top tier athletics program like the University of Arizona, varsity athletes are used to performing at a high level on the field and in the classroom. But because of their rigorous training and academic schedules, many student-athletes don’t have time for summer internships or other pre-professional training. So when the time comes to prepare to interview for their first career after graduation, many feel unprepared for the unfamiliar stress of interviewing. Read more...
Remote working is the new normal, but “phoning it in” still creates productivity problems. At Gensler, we coached a multi-generational design consulting team how to collaborate at a high level across an ever-expanding array of technologies. Read more...
Advertising relies on making an emotional connection with a targeted audience. Agencies tasked with creating top-quality creative rely on their employees to work productively through complex workflows to meet stress-inducing deadlines. Maintaining positive and productive working relationships in this type of working environment is essential to ensuring excellent work gets done, deadlines are met and clients stay happy. Read more...
Bread and Roses is a Bay Area non-profit with a singular mission: “Uplift the human spirit by providing free, live, quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society.” This includes providing live music and arts to those living in prisons, mental health clinics and substance abuse treatment centers. Oak and Reeds, in addition to donating free workshops to these isolated communities, facilitated a leadership visioning session to Bread and Roses staff at their annual off-site planning session. Read more...
What do our workshops look like? See for yourself!
Dave Collins (Founder & CEO)
Dave is an award-winning improvisor, coach, and corporate strategist. He began performing improv in 2005, and after a move to Chicago, began teaching and coaching in 2007. Along with his teammates, Dave won the National Collegiate Improv Tournament, headlined shows across the country, and individually has coached hundreds of students and professionals in the art and practice of improv. Dave applied his analytical and facilitation talents in his work as a workplace strategist and change management expert at AECOM Strategy Plus. As a workplace strategist, Dave worked with clients to examine the relationship between workspace and productivity, enabling people to break old habits and embrace change.
Today, Dave works with his clients to find innovative ways to develop practical business skills through the use of improv training. Like Aesop's fable about the Oak and the Reeds, he believes that modern organizational cultures must incorporate basic improv tools and techniques in order to be flexible enough to survive and thrive through any storm.
The Story of The Oak and The Reeds
An Oak that grew on the bank of a river was uprooted by a severe gale of wind, and thrown across the stream. It fell among some Reeds growing by the water, and said to them, "How is it that you, who are so frail and slender, have managed to weather the storm, whereas I, with all my strength, have been torn up by the roots and hurled into the river?" "You were stubborn," came the reply, "and fought against the storm, which proved stronger than you: but we bow and yield to every breeze, and thus the gale passed harmlessly over our heads.
We'd love to hear from you!
Phone: (415) 851-4625