I know, I know. The word that seems to be one everyone’s lips these days: Innovation. Since we read so many books on innovation in the world of business for the Braithwaite Book Club, we contemplated the value of reading yet another diatribe on this overused and often misunderstood word. But, since we just launched our Corporate Improv Division here and Innovation at the Speed of Laughter focuses heavily on using improv as a business tool, we decided it was worth the read.
Author John Sweeney takes an interesting approach to Innovation at the Speed of Laughter. First off, we fell for the guy the moment he introduced the heartfelt reasons he wrote the book. As a former successful corporate real estate tycoon, Sweeney left the industry to follow his true passion – improvisational comedy. Sweeney is now fully immersed in the business of improve and innovation as owner of the world’s oldest satirical comedy theater and founder of the world-renown school for improvisation, the Brave New Workshop. In Innovation at the Speed of Laughter, Sweeney introduces readers to the eight secrets to generating “world class” ideas.
With the aim of bridging the gap between creative innovation and a workplace application, Sweeney describes improv in action and introduces practical tools to increase innovation production in a workplace environment. He does so in a format that is both engaging and fun, beginning each chapter of the book with a script sample taken from a Brave New Workshop comedy show. The scripts (though I’ll admit I skimmed through a couple…well, most) provide concrete outcomes of the creative funnel process and the eight secrets to idea generation. Most importantly, the scripts are meant to evoke a laugh or two. And, as you’ll read, Sweeney is a firm believer that the infusion of laughter can dramatically increase learning, creativity, innovation and productivity.
We believe that here at Braithwaite as well. We work hard, that’s for sure, but never a day goes by when we fail to share in some agency-wide laugh together. One of my co-worker’s came to me last week sharing the statistic that the average person laughs 26 times a day. She said she far-exceeded that number here. That’s good. Laughter, as Sweeney successfully articulates, should be a part of the workday. And, we’re finding it’s working well for us. Isn’t that funny?