Yesterday I spent the day in Harlem at the All Stars Talent Show Workshop. I was part of a grouping of adult and youth leaders of the All Stars who worked with 300 young people, most of whom were new to the program and who will participate in the upcoming Harlem All Stars Talent Shows. See previous post blog post for more details about the program http://marianrich.posterous.com/innovation-in-action
We worked with a diverse group of inner city youth of all ages from some of the poorest neighborhoods in New York — singers, rappers and dancers; boys and girls from elementary school and young men and women from high school. I was one of the directors helping the young people create theatre skits about the All Stars’ youth programs (see photo below of me and three youth leaders and fellow skit directors).
After arriving with their performance groups, the young people were asked to join groups of kids they didn’t know to create the skits. Although the initial response of some of the young people was to ask, “Why do I have to do this?” and “Why can’t I stay with my group?”, the activity of creating with people they never worked with before turned out to be a creative and developmental experience for all involved. See video clip below of one of the very fun and creative skits the youth created.
I was thinking about this activity and it’s application to business. Companies, large and small, can use this approach to bring diverse groups of executives and non-executives together and have them create new experiences (as well as new products and services), a great way to promote innovation in the workplace. The use of theatre and improvisation can help businesses go beyond the possible and the familiar so that everyone involved can develop.
Why not give it a try?