I’m on a roll! My last few posts have been inspired by my reading and reflections on Impro. Like any parent, I want my kids to thrive, be passionate and happy. I’d also like my kids to learn to improvise … or maybe slow down the un-learning process that happens as kids start to fear failure, judgement and criticism.
I was playing with my eldest son last weekend … we were building structures with shapes. I noticed that Griff wasn’t happy with the end result. We were building structures slowly and we were ‘judging’ the building process with each move. The game felt stilted and lacked flow … it wasn’t much fun.
So, I threw in a ‘constraint’ of time. I said … “No stalling … no going back … build as quick as possible … don’t think about it … if it falls over we start again!”
Wow! What a shift. We started to flow and we started to build quickly on each other’s offers. There was laughter and fun and we spent a whole hour building and re building … then Griff ran and grabbed the camera and started photographing our little masterpieces.
So What? When I observe group making decisions and working as a team, they often become stuck. Part of my role as facilitator is to help groups do their best thinking. In the past 12 months, I have been introducing the concept of ‘creative limits’. Limitations enhance creativity and flow for groups. Time limits help them to get on with it and reduce judgments of themselves and others. Limiting the number of words they can use to describe something can help them to find the ‘essence’ or ‘core’ of their idea and communicate more effectively. People who work in design understand how to use ‘creative limits’ to improve their work.
Here’s me and Griff in action … the music is by Andrew Pendlebury and Doug deVries of their Karati CD.