5 improv-energisers that will boost any creative workshop.

There are not a lot of moments in your adult life where you can scream ‘I’m hunting a whale!’ while crawling on the ground pretending to study daffodils. And when did you last tell your boss: “I love you honey, won’t you give me a smile?”

There are not a lot of moments in your adult life where you can scream ‘I’m hunting a whale!’ while crawling on the ground pretending to study daffodils. And when did you last tell your boss: “I love you, honey, won’t you give me a smile?”

When George Land tried to find out why only 2% of the adult population fell within the ‘genius’ category of creativity he came to a very clear conclusion: we are all born creative, but throughout our lives, we ‘unlearn’ it.

Land calls out our focus on acting in a ‘logical, replicable way’ and ‘fear to make mistakes’ as the two main enemies of creativity.

If you have ever seen an improvised comedy show, you already know that what happens on stage is far from logical and replicable. Making mistakes and having the ability to build new storylines from them is at the core of great improv.

When entering a creative process such as an innovation workshop or an idea brainstorm, improvisation exercises can help you release your 5-year old creative genius.

Part of the Hyper Island toolbox is a list of energisers that is inspired by original improvisation exercises. Kicking-off a creative process with these exercises will help participants get into a more open mindset, to venture into the unknown, and to embrace failure without fear.

Ready to try it out for yourself?
These are our top five improv energizers:

#1 Sync claps

This grandmother of all improv exercises is guaranteed to make you chuckle. How hard can it be to pass a simple clap, right? Hint: Make eye contact and pay attention!

#2: Bang!

A great mix of energy and concentration. Add a bit of drama by turning the dying part into hardcore slapstick. A bold alternative to a traditional round of the “name game”.

#3: I love you, honey,

You know you’re a lover, not a fighter. Now it’s time to convince the world. Try not to laugh, we dare you! Great for loosening up an existing team.

#4: Human-machine

Turn your team into a Unicornmaker © and don’t forget to take a picture. After this exercise, you’re ready to take on any creative challenge.

#5: What are you doing?

The ultimate ‘Yes! And…’ exercise. Step into the wonderful world of mime and free your imagination. During this exercise, you might kill that whale…

I hope this will help you to bring your creative workshop or brainstorm to the next level. Don’t forget to have fun, and to all improv players out there: do you have other energizers that should be on our list? Shout!

Koen Thewissen
Hyper Island Partnership Director
Member of the Royal Improphonic Orchestra and Theatre (RIOT)