Improvisation, Creativity, and Design

Brad Orego
Aug 5, 2018 · 7 min read
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Credit: Matzner Photography

Improv and Content Generation

Having worked with dozens of different choreographers (in a variety of stages of their careers, from a variety of different backgrounds/lineages), there are many different choreographic processes. Some are very methodical and specific about what they’re looking for, others less so. One thing that seems fairly consistent throughout, though, is the role of improvisation.

Improv and Creativity

One of the interesting things about the MP3 Experiment (that I partially predicted) is how they encouraged people to use everyday items in novel ways. We were instructed to bring two metal spoons, a cardboard container, metal container, plastic container, and a bucket. Over the course of the experiment, we used the spoons as balance tests and as drumsticks, buckets to build towers and as stepping stones, and ultimately all of the containers became our drum set.

Improv and Design

Alternative Uses isn’t just a test, though. You can make this an extremely potent tool in your design arsenal. Guilford’s classic test is an excellent way to get your team thinking about other ways to solve your current design problems. Start with the 2-minute, random everyday object version to help people understand the problem and get those creative juices flowing, and then evolve the exercise to focus on either a) different ways people could possibly use the product/feature, or b) different ways to solve the problem the current feature/product solves.

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Improv and Strategy

We’ve already discussed how improv can be a useful tool for exploring different avenues and options, and for generating content to play with. These all fold into a larger lesson about how these exercises and practices can be used to guide and fuel design strategy as a whole.

Improv and You

Now that you know the variety of ways in which you can apply improv into your design process, you’re probably wondering exactly how to do so (what exercises work best, how to get buy-in from the team, what the target outcomes/deliverables are, etc.)

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Source

Performing.Design

What the design world can learn from the performing arts.

Brad Orego

Written by

The only Comp Sci & Psych double-major I've ever seen. Head of User Research @ Auth0. 1/2 of Performing.Design. Dancer, curler, homebrewer.

Performing.Design

What the design world can learn from the performing arts.

Brad Orego

Written by

The only Comp Sci & Psych double-major I've ever seen. Head of User Research @ Auth0. 1/2 of Performing.Design. Dancer, curler, homebrewer.

Performing.Design

What the design world can learn from the performing arts.

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