As corporations look to gain an edge, they're throwing away the tired old model of flinging money at traditional management consultants and instead are looking to improvisers to teach their employees to think with empathy and creativity.
At Goop, the lifestyle magazine famously founded by Gwynneth Paltrow, CEO Lisa Gersh leads her teams using improv techniques. In an interview with the New York Times, Gersh describes how taking an improv class led to her rethinking the way she runs meetings, divides focused and collaborative time and gains buy-in from executives.
This article describes how Palantir, a secretive data-science company in Silicon Valley, uses improv to craft its corporate culture. The article fascinatingly connects the dots of Palantir's culture (flat hierarchy, small teams and a fanatical devotion to the work at hand) to the rules of improv ("yes, and", a focus on "status transactions" and always deferring individual recognition for the good of the group). The author presents this case study as an example of how improv can be used, for better or for worse, as a cultural glue that helps to retain and motivate employees.
Also mentioned in this article is Keith Johnstone's "Impro", a must-read for anyone looking to delver deeper into the inner workings of improvisation on stage.
Mid career professionals have a wealth of experiences from which to draw from. Many executive MBA programs are now leveraging improv training to help teach how discomfort and the experience of failure can be used as a training tool.