Applied Improv Principles: Storytelling is Collaboration

In the article What is Applied Improv? I discussed seven principles of improv that apply in the work environment. Here I expand on the concept of "Storytelling is Collaboration" As humans, we are natural storytellers. Much of how we communicate and think comes from telling stories to ourselves and others. Each story that we tell involves people, experiences and ideas that we have interacted with in our lives. (Sawyer, 2007) * In this way our stories are a collaboration with all of those elements that we have experienced. Bringing together the combined experiences of several people allow us to tell stories as a group with each person adding their own offers. A team solving a business problem in a group meeting is a story that might look something like this:

Once upon a time our product was constantly in demand, but sales have been down for a year, because of that we are looking at our customer feedback, because of that we see that updates to the product are needed, and now we can create a plan to roll out the new features. This summary story might take place over several meetings with many different people adding pieces to the story based on their experiences and ideas.


Collaboration means listening for those offers and accepting them in a way that makes your partner look good and builds on them by “Yes, and”ing them.

*Sawyer, Keith 2007. Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration