DMers Learn Improv Techniques for Creativity, Collaboration

DMers Learn Improv Techniques for Creativity, Collaboration

 

Once a quarter, the whole Digital Measures team comes together for an offsite event to get us out of our routines and into something surprising and fun. DMers have gone curling, cooked tapas, played maker’s golf and more. This time, we found ourselves at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. After a quick tour of the Rep’s three performance spaces and extensive backstage workshops, we spent the afternoon improvising together. We had a blast, and came away with some fresh ways to creatively collaborate.

A Different Kind of Collaboration

DMers Learn Improv Techniques for Creativity, Collaboration“Having to create letters with your body was fun and unexpected,” Adrian Moreno,
Engagement Consultant, said about our kickoff exercise. DMers worked in pairs to create the letters of the alphabet using just our bodies. The goal was to create recognizable letters with no stray arms or legs sticking out—and do it quickly, without talking. The Rep’s Jenny Toutant, Education Director, set a fast pace, so we had to think on our feet and keep up. The result: a chance to create, collaborate, shake off failed attempts, move on immediately and laugh at ourselves a bit—well, a lot!

Another exercise involved breaking into small groups, discovering seven things we had in common and one unique to each individual in the group, then presenting our findings in an interesting way. Presentations ranged from charades to a skit in the seats at a ballpark.

DMers Learn Improv Techniques for Creativity, CollaborationWe practiced the “yes, and …” method of actively listening and building on what the person before you said, then finished the day by breaking into groups and designing a game using the “yes, and …” technique. The exercise left us with a key takeaway for use at the office, as we saw how “yes, and” encouraged your teammates instead of “yes, but” which squashed them.

“I liked the ties between acting, improv and real life, like continuous compromise, ‘yes, and …’ and using the opportunities that come up in the moment,” said Jim Raymonds, Development Team Lead. “And the chandeliers!” (The Rep’s stock of chandeliers for productions, left, is prominently displayed in a common area near the rehearsal space we used for the afternoon.)

The Takeaway

“I saw this as an opportunity to get everyone out of their comfort zones in order to see that our colleagues also share the same feelings,” said Marie Farrell, Events Manager. “Whether it’s the way you respond to a suggestion or way to understand others, it translates to your everyday tasks. Keeping an open mind and being vulnerable with others allows for creativity and collaboration.”

DMers Learn Improv Techniques for Creativity, CollaborationAndy Glassman, Back End Architect, also enjoyed learning more about The Rep. “The size of the supporting facilities, and staff needed to support the theater group is really impressive,” he said.

Originally known as the Fred Miller Theatre, The Rep was founded in 1954 and produced a standard Broadway repertoire. In the early 1960s, the company reorganized, creating a resident acting company and expanding its repertoire to include classics and premieres of new works. The Rep has earned a solid reputation in regional theater, and enjoys wide community support. Matt Bartel, Digital Measures founder and CEO, serves on The Rep’s board of trustees.