Lee-Anne McAlear and I sat down again recently and chatted about the part improvisation plays in innovation.

Lee-Anne is co-director of the Centre of Excellence in Applied Innovation Management for the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University.

And as many of you know, I headed up the Second City Corporate Division years ago, where I learned how to take improvisational skills and teach them to organizations to stay flexible.

For me, improvisation means you are embracing the unscripted portion of your business. There are two provisos in an improvisational model. Say yes to move ideas forward and use the wisdom of your team. When I lead a workshop it doesn’t take long for staff and managers to see this as a valuable tool at the personal and team level.

Lee Anne adds another element to this: that smart businesses must improvise at the organizational level.

In health care, government and manufacturing,  businesses must set the environment for creativity to happen in order to stay viable. And they must do this when things are low risk, so that when its high risk ( Market changes and paradigms shifts) people will already be trained to trust their ideas and bring them forward.

In this podcast we talked about the way leaders can help cultivate the spirit of improvisation by allowing for experimentation. By knowing how move ideas to implementation and what degree of business should be set aside for exploring new ideas.

Plus, we talked about ants. Yes ants! I think the ants are the best part of the whole podcast. You’ll have to listen to find out.

Listen, learn, laugh. And share.


We are currently developing an expanded version of this podcast that that you can use to motivate, inspire your team!