From Publishers Weekly
"Look into your own private personality mirror and see a grin instead of a grimace." "Eat a completely different lunch at a brand-new restaurant. Just because." "Discover the name(s) of your own personal theme song(s)." Trite suggestions like these abound in this book written by partners of a sketch comedy/improvisation company that offers workshops to help business people loosen up. True to form, the authors don't call the sessions in their book "workshops"; rather, they prefer to call them "playshops." Their approach results in a volume that is lively, yet fails to make a real connection between improvisation and work. The authors contend that "businesses are sending their top managers and frontline staff alike to improv classes in droves," yet they fail to offer any concrete business cases that explain why. Other than mentioning that Southwest Airlines flight attendants use humor to get passengers to listen to flight instructions (an example now tragically outdated in the post-September 11 environment), there are few examples of how improvisation has led to product development, employee retention or increased profitability. What the authors do contend, however, is that loosening up in the workplace could have an indirect affect on these components, in that fun equals happy employees equals more success. A better choice for those interested in "out of the box" thinking in the workplace is Guy Kawasaki's Rules for Revolutionaries or The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America's Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley et al. Agent, Laurie Liss.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Mark Bergren, Molly Cox, and Jim Detmar are partners in Out of the Blue, an enormously successful corporate workshop, sketch comedy, and improv company. They teach and perform nationally for companies and associations such as 3M, Kaiser Permanente, Rainforest CafT, State Farm Insurance, and the Paris Las Vegas Resort. They are based in Minneapolis and Los Angeles.