Utilizing improv theater practices can encourage and improve design thinking starting with user empathy through creating product prototypes. Not only can it improve design thinking, but the techniques can be easily learned. Therefore, let’s explore 3 improv activities for design thinking below.
Powerful Benefits that Improv Brings to the Design Thinking Process
Improvisors are characterised by quick-wittedness, listening even in high pressure situations and building on the ideas of their team. All of these attibutes are great additions for design thinkers. With an improv workshop, design thinkers can begin to:
- Empathize more clearly with the design target
- Increase teamwork and co-work between the participants
- Improve moods, energy and listening skills
- Encourage team think by removing pressure and silos
But how?! Great question.
So the good news is that to use improv activities for deisgn thinking is a short presentation away. Most design thinkers can benefit and take away these skills from a workshop. To get started, here are 3 improv activities to use:
Never Miss a Beat
It’s amazing where our minds will wander off too. This activity is great for helping us stay present. It’s called “Zip Zap Zop”. Standing in a circle one person claps and then points at someone else in the circle saying “Zip”. That person then claps and points at someone else and says Zap, third person clap and point, “Zop”, and you bounce that around the circle. Zip, zap, zop, zip, zap, zop, etc. Use your own words, use names, the important thing is you move fast!
Encourage the wild ideas
To do this we need to start saying yes to the ideas that are presented to us and supporting them. We do this with an activity called “I’m going on a picnic”. To do this activity everyone stands in a circle. The first person in the circle turns to the person on their left and says ” I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing a soda. The next person then turns to the person to their left and says “Yes, and I am bringing ice for the soda”, that third person then turns to the person to their left and says “yes, and I’m bringing a cooler to hold all the ice”, and this repeats until everyone has had a turn.
Empathize With Your Design Target
How do we practice empathy? To see life from someone else’s point of view a good start would be to take on that persons physicality. Humans are great at mimicry. For this activity you will observe someone as they are. You want someone who is unaware they are being observed. Someone outside the window waiting for the bus for example or someone in a video. Take on that persons body posture, sit how they sit, stand as they stand, walk as they walk, then ask yourself, how do I feel? What kind of person do I feel like right now? Let your new body inform your mind. Body first, then mind.
These exercises help work those muscles, and they’re a lot of fun to do. Contact us today to learn more about how you can use improv activities for design thinking.