Provoking AIN to higher heights

      Are you familiar with the work of creativity pioneer Edward De Bono, inventor of “Lateral Thinking” and “The Six Hats?”  He has some exciting ideas to offer to Applied Improv practicioners and our conference as a whole. De Bono is curious where new ideas come from and how we can generate more of them. He has invented several methods for helping individuals and groups see problems in a new way and find solutions that step outside of the conventional frame.

One of De Bono’s most powerful concepts is “po.” When you start a sentence with “Po,…” you are letting your listeners know that the next words out of your mouth are intended to provoke new thoughts and discussion.  A “po” proposition doesn’t need to be factual, logical, or possible. It’s purpose is to launch your listeners’ minds to a place they haven’t been before. As your listeners work their way back from “out there” to “here and now” they discovered a wider variety of powerful, viable new solutions for the problem at hand.

I suggest that here at #AIN12 we play with #AIN12.po to tag provocative ideas about expanding our practices and growing the field. For example:

  • #AIN12.po Improviser should wear funny costumes to work.
  • #AIN12.po we need more food products involved in the work that we do.
  • #AIN12.po a Unique Value Propisition for our group is that we make work fun.
  • #AIN12.po I invite aliens found by the mars rover to come to my next workshop.
  • #AIN12.po I gather flowers from a field and place them on the floor before a workshop.
  • #AIN12.po I bottle up the anxiety I feel about performing this work and give it away to marathon runners in training.
  • #AIN12.po I take a very deep breath.
  • #AIN12.po I follow stories that go nowhere until they turn into nothing.
  • #AIN12.po I pray to God before starting a workshop.
  • #AIN12.po I invite participants to sit on the floor and chant for Buddha before beginning a session.
  • #AIN12.po I command participants to sit on the floor and chante for Buddh before beginning a session.

You may be thinking, “Huh?” De Bono’s suggestion is that these PrOvocations are a nice jumping off point for creative ideation. Let me see what my brain does with one of these.

“#AIN12.po I bottle up the anxiety I feel about performing this work and give it away to marathon runners in training.”

     How could we riff off of this? Anxiety does feel palbable inside my chest and belly. It does feel like a liquid that could be poured off. If anxiety is a fluid, we often think of it as a fluid that we have in excess, but for some people they need all they can get. The marathon runner, for example is probably looking to wring every ounce of energy out of every available source she has.

Continuing with this game, what might it look like to take some of my anxiety (or the anxiety of a client) and "pour it off" to give to someone else or store for later?

  • What if you had them illustratve their @garyhirsch monsters into a deck of playing cards that could be drawn from as circumstances demanded, or given to a person who needs a little more flight or fight?
  • What if anxiety was poured out through singing and the songs that get sung are used to cheer on people who need it:  people running a race, team members pushing a deadline?
  • What if you helped a team actively visualize their personal anxieties leaching out of their individual bodies and filling a collective pool in which they were no longer sources of isolation or could be drawn on for a greater purpose?
  • ...Write yours here...

Give it a try. Tweet a #AIN12.po right now and let’s see what happens. Remember, first thing that comes out on the keyboard is right. #AIN12