Utilizing improv techniques to accelerate the Wayfair product team’s ability to ideate and problem solve.
Improv theater techniques can strengthen all stages of the design thinking process, from building user empathy to creating product prototypes. Having run numerous workshops in my career, I've seen this value firsthand.
Oftentimes people roll their eyes at the thought of icebreakers or improv to start an important meeting. Typically people will start a workshop or meeting with an improv activity that has no actual bearing on what follows and attendees leave the meeting finding the improv to be an uncomfortable waste of precious time.
The key to harnessing the value these techniques provide is understanding what the meeting objective and activities are and selecting an appropriate activity that ladders directly into the meeting activities.
There are numerous workshop types and objectives, I've broken down some of my favorite improv activities into a handful of groups based on what you might be looking to do. If you found these helpful, I'd love to hear about it! Let's chat.
Practice makes perfect
It's an inside job
8-Count Shake Out is useful for quickly warming up a group before any workshop.
Business Pitch is useful for team building or creative workshops with folks who aren’t typically asked to design things.
5 Things is great for workshops that require coming up with a number of ideas or concepts in a short amount of time.
Alternate Uses is great for getting people to start working together quickly and pushing groups to think beyond the obvious solution. This can be great when working with groups who often stick to the first idea that comes to mind and have trouble moving beyond that.
1813 is useful for workshops or activities where there is heavy consideration about a user or persona. Workshops where it’s important to consider specific perspectives.
Hybrid is great for workshops that require collaborative ideation.