How Improvisation Can Lead to Better Innovation. (+Free Podcast)

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Next week I am back out on the speaker circuit talking about disruption, –is disrupting our way of doing things.

I thought this would be good time to re- send this blog on how we need the concepts of improvisation ( Yes And, Active Listening And setting envirnment for exploration)  to weather all the storms we have on the business and global front.

This conversation is with one smart cookie  LEE ANNE MCLEAR is co-director of the Centre of Excellence in Applied Innovation Management for the Schulich Executive Education Centre, York University.

Read this interview: Or scroll to the bottom for a free podcast!

Why is innovation so important for businesses?

Lee-Anne: There are different kinds of issues that people face. There are simple issues like “Who is going to pick up the kids?” That is a decision. Will it be grandma, a neighbor, or the nanny? Then there are complicated issues like “How are we going to get three kids to three different places for three different sports events on the same night?” And then there are complex issues like “How do we do more with less?” Each kind of issue takes a different kind of thinking.

Deb: So, if it’s a complicated or complex issue, it takes a creative mind and a plan?

Lee-Anne: There was a time when a plan you made worked 10 years later. Not any more.

Deb: We’re lucky if the plan lasts for 10 months.

Lee-Anne: Exactly. And that plan has many components. Think of health care, transportation, slowing economies. There is no one plan, no simple decision (as much as we might yearn for it) that will answer all the competing interests.

Deb: Logic or left-brain thinking alone isn’t going to get us to solutions that will work.

Lee-Anne: If it could, the very smart people would’ve already created them. It takes more than logic.

Deb: And in writing and creating, we say we are “using the right side of the brain” when we access the intuitive part of the brain where all the creative or unknown ideas are living.

Lee-Anne: Now, in your world, you call it right-brain thinking. I call it detaching from what you already know.

Deb: I love that concept. Let’s face it: Detaching can be terrifying. Especially when your financial security is involved.

Lee-Anne: Sure, for awhile. The challenge is that anything that new — or anything unknown — is going to feel that way. In the innovation process, we ask people to step out of their comfort and their competence zone.

The change expert, Guy Claxton, said all change requires us to risk the 4 C’s. Risking comfort, change, competency and the mother of all the C’s, control.

Lee-Anne: Ah, yes and risk! The risk-space. That is what you call the “yes, and” part.

Deb: “Yes and” that is the place where people in organizations have to go in order to get the new ideas.

Lee-Anne: “Yes and” you are right.

Deb: And you are too, sistah!

Here is a free podcast expanding on these ideas:

I learned a lot by asking Lee-Anne questions, and now I’d like to learn from you. What things do you need to detach from to move forward? Comment below:

Or if you’d like me ( or Lee Anne) to come and speak contact Emily:


June 6th 2019- Downward Facing Broad- with Kim  Pollard- 20 Tickets left Buy Here

June 23rd: Drop Dead Funny Comedy Jam, John Candy Theatre Toronto; ( starring Debra McGrath and Colin Mochrie)  6 tickets left till we are sold out.Tickets Here

July 19th 2019 Amherst Island. Presbyterian Church. Tickets Here.( with KIM POLLARD)

Oct 26th, Belleville, Ontario, Empire Theatre. Tickets Here.  ( with KIM POLLARD)

Need a laugh? Buy my book!