The graduate class of IS 214 Creative and Transformative Leadership of the Department of International Studies organized a workshop on “Leadership in a complex and changing world. - Saying “yes, and” to the Mess: Workshop on Improvisation” last April 29, 2021 via google meet.
The workshop was facilitated by Miss Olive Nieto from the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts of UP-Diliman. Olive has an extensive experience teaching and doing improvisation. The workshop started with body and mind meditation by allowing the students to listen to their body and achieve a level of comfort and ‘state of play.’
Olive’s repertoire of improvisational activities enabled us to listen, interpret, and not to aim for perfection. One must be prepared for “surprises not successes.” By listening to one another, one can contribute to making something whole despite mistake and failings and the uncertainties of it all.
Improvisation is not only after the outcome, but ‘saying yes,’ by disregarding expectations, and “killing one’s inner critic.” Olive emphasized that improvisation becomes successful because it takes failures, not as a “mess” but takes the world’s complexities and uncertainties as an experiment or a teaching moment for collective success.
The workshop is timely and relevant especially to transformative leaders. They need to feel comfortable with complexity and uncertainty. The workshop allowed us to recognize that we have doing improvisation since childhood like playing house or inventing games. We play make-believe stories where the principle of “fake it” till you make it have those stories believable. This is important for transformative leaders as they improvise, create, invent something new or better given one’s limitations and availability of resources.
This online workshop is part of the student’s learning module on Creative and Transformative Leadership Course under the mentorship of Ms. Lorna Q. Israel. -- By Mnenosyne Hilary Vinarao