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Steve Portigal: Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha: Improv, Creativity and Design

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Steve Portigal: Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha: Improv, Creativity and Design

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Improv is not "stand-up comedy." It is often presented series of games with rules that offer huge degrees of freedom within a set of constraints. In these games we bring out quickly-understood-and-communicated rules of culture that are implicit, not explicit. The activities of design (collaboration, creativity, and design research, for starters) have interesting similarities with improv: All have in-the-moment aspects; we learn upon reflection; there’s enormous unspoken interaction and there is often an "aha" moment. Design and improv also have important similarities: the need to collaborate and brainstorm, the importance of breakthrough thinking, the balance between process, structure, and unfettered creativity. Playing with improv can make us more mindful of the power of listening, and can be harnessed to create a more collaborative work culture, as a way to develop one’s own creativity, or to help warm up teammates and clients in workshops and design sessions. In this interactive presentation you will learn more about improv, listening, creativity, and how they all connect together to support one another. No iguanas will be harmed.

Improv is not "stand-up comedy." It is often presented series of games with rules that offer huge degrees of freedom within a set of constraints. In these games we bring out quickly-understood-and-communicated rules of culture that are implicit, not explicit. The activities of design (collaboration, creativity, and design research, for starters) have interesting similarities with improv: All have in-the-moment aspects; we learn upon reflection; there’s enormous unspoken interaction and there is often an "aha" moment. Design and improv also have important similarities: the need to collaborate and brainstorm, the importance of breakthrough thinking, the balance between process, structure, and unfettered creativity. Playing with improv can make us more mindful of the power of listening, and can be harnessed to create a more collaborative work culture, as a way to develop one’s own creativity, or to help warm up teammates and clients in workshops and design sessions. In this interactive presentation you will learn more about improv, listening, creativity, and how they all connect together to support one another. No iguanas will be harmed.

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Steve Portigal: Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha: Improv, Creativity and Design

  1. Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha Improv, Creativity and Collaboration Steve Portigal 1 @steveportigal
  2. Click to edit Master title style Introduction Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  3. Today (and Master title style Click to edit what‟s this about iguanas?) Define and experience improv Look at user research, creativity, design You will start to see overlaps, similarities and parallels Some implicit; some explicit Your thoughts welcome No iguanas will be harmed. http://iroisaac.deviantart.com/art/Iguana-65814718 Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  4. Click to edit Master title style Portigal We help companies discover and act on new insights about their customers and themselves Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  5. Founded edit Master title style Click to by Steve in 2001 Small footprint Global influence Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal Portigal
  6. Click to edit Master title style Improv: The funny will come Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  7. Improv edit Master title style Click to is not stand-up comedy In contrast to improv, stand-up is Highly scripted Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha Rehearsed, with nano-second timing ‹#› Portigal
  8. Improv edit Click to is... Master title style A highly-constrained performance with several open parameters Elements of problem solving Unscripted Specifics assigned right before performance starts “Your first idea is often your best idea” Emphasis on playfulness over being funny “I could never do that, because I‟m not funny” It can be (at times) funny to watch, but not about trying to be funny “The funny will come” “Don‟t let logic impede your fancy” Cheaper than therapy Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  9. Improv edit it way title style Click to findsMaster into many areas Corporate training on collaboration and creativity Compare with popularity of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Meeting facilitation/ideation warm-up At Pixar, when someone suggests an idea, others should respond with “Yes, and ...” They‟ve used improv to create the most trusting environment possible where people can Informance (from Interval screw up. Pixar tells story behind 'Toy Story„, SF Chronicle, 8/23/05 Research) User research methods Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  10. Improv edit Master title style Click to and collaboration Throwing an idea Accepting offers/saying yes Trust Listening Chris Miller emphasizes that your task in improv is to make your partner look good. Setting up the spike Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  11. Improv edit Master Click to can bring title style Insights about humor Confidence in public speaking Timing Did I mention therapy? Building skills in listening Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  12. Game: Storytelling style Click to edit Master title Circle Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  13. Game: Storytelling style Click to edit Master title Circle Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  14. Click to edit Master title style Designing for users: needs and culture Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  15. User to edit Master title of user-centered design) Click Research (as part style Ethnographic interviews Video ethnography Depth-interviews Contextual research Home visits Experience modeling Design research User-centered design Observational research Camera studies User safaris Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  16. User to edit Master title of user-centered design) Click Research (as part style Ethnographic interviews Video ethnography Depth-interviews Contextual research Home visits Experience modeling Design research User-centered design Observational research Camera studies User safaris Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  17. Instead, let‟s try this non-definition Click to edit Master title style Examine users (consumers or other) in their own context What are they doing? What does it mean? Infer (interpret/synthesize/etc.) Find the connections The researcher is the “apparatus” Apply to business or design problems Use products, services, packaging, design to tell the right story Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  18. Interviewing users title style Click to edit Masterrequires expert listening At this level, most people can’t do this without extensive training and practice Listening is more than not talking when the other person talks How is what you do or say next, after they finish talking, influenced by what they just said, or have said previously? Interviewing looks and feels like ordinary conversation – but it isn‟t! Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  19. Listening is Master title style Click to edit in the body as well as the ears/eyes Yes! Not so much. Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  20. Click to edit Master title style Game: Telephone 2.0 Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  21. Change and Conformity in Balance Click to edit Master title style “Folks pick up on the surrounding cultures in at least somewhat idiosyncratic ways…Even with a world of conformers, each conformer thus acts differently. With each striving to emulate the other, there will be a never- ending chain of adoptions and adaptations that, as they move throughout the network, change the substance.” Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  22. Consider Cultural Rules Click to edit Master title style New technologies (especially those that enable new, visible behaviors) are often met with distrust Society sanctions people who violate these norms People assert their own normalcy by verbally distancing themselves from the end-points of the normal curve We hear these stories over and over Me Thinking someone is weird or a jerk is a manifestation of the norms of one‟s society. Weird in one age may eventually become People who are People who are normal over time. too… too… Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  23. Consider Cultural Rules Click to edit Master title style Normal isn‟t “right or wrong” – it‟s the set of background rules that define much of what people choose or ignore To innovate, we must understand a world view (including norms) from our customer‟s perspective (which is often different than ours). Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  24. User to edit Master title style Click research exposes us to culture Learning about yourself and your own culture by having an opportunity to reflect it against things you didn't know Understand “social norms” – i.e., how messy your house is Your own reaction is data Human beings are judging beings Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  25. Brainstorming/ideation style Click to edit Master titleas collaborative generation Works best as a collective, out-loud activity! Talk, listen, build on each other‟s ideas Don‟t worry about a “bad” idea… it may lead to a “good” idea Don‟t correct; generate alternatives “Yes, and…” works very well here Individual ideas matter less than what the collective How can a sour lemon help keep things working smoothly? produces overall Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  26. Bad to edit Master title style Clickideas get you unstuck Immoral Dangerous Bad for business Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  27. Bad to edit Master title style Clickideas get you unstuck Immoral Dangerous Bad for business Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  28. Click to edit Master title style So where does this leave us? Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  29. Emerging principle: giving space to others Click to edit Master title style Multiple interviewers Build on the ideas of others Let there be silence technique The Kids In The Hall are each hilariously talented, but know how to keep quiet to make the scene work. Make your best contribution by not talking Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  30. Balance: Structure title style Click to edit Masterfor Freedom Have a “plan” but be in the moment In user research interviewing, a guide is used to anticipate the flow of the discussion, but it can go in new directions – that‟s the a-ha moment you are looking for In improv, the basics of the game give structure, we have a beginning, and then we “look for the ending” In ideation, we have a process to focus our work, but we use that process to think divergently Fuel creativity: extinguish I can’t do that by breaking problems into smaller solvable ones and reframing success Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  31. Takeaway: Master title style Click to editTry a little more “yes” When someone teases you (just listen to how comics go back and forth), try responding with yes. Even if you don‟t add the “and…” the act of yes can change the dynamic. If I ever become a New Age guru offering a spiritual path to a happier life, this will be the way I‟ll present myself. Gain control by giving up control. Try it in a situation you wouldn‟t expect to. Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  32. Hungry edit Master Click to for more? title style This deck will be on slideshare Attend an improv class Attend an improv show Start your own improv class Watch improv or improv-based stuff ? Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  33. Coming in September 2012 Click to edit Master title style A book by Steve Portigal The Art and Craft of User Research Interviewing http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/user-interviews/ Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  34. Click to edit Master title style games? Time for more Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  35. Click to edit Master title style I find it works for me like Yeah, I’ve this… got a question for ya… One new thing I learned today is… Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› Portigal
  36. Click to edit Master title style Thank you! Portigal Consulting @steveportigal www.portigal.com steve@portigal.com Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha ‹#› 415-894-2001 Portigal

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