Improv Asylum are a comedy company from Boston who set up an office in Dublin in 2014 to promote the power of ‘improvisation’ in the work-place.
They have set up learn-by-doing programs that companies can use to train their staff how to be more creative while working with others.
“Our slogan is that we teach your head to think on its feet. Our training is about more than just having fun and it’s most definitely not about teaching people how to be funny. The main focus is on how to be good at listening and responding more effectively so that you can be more innovative,” explained Improv Asylum co-founder Chet Harding. “On stage, we try to make someone else’s idea better by working together. As comedians we have to be innovative and respond quickly, and the skillset used in this type of comedy is transferable to the corporate world”.
Improv Asylum may have first been known in Boston for its sketches (see one below) but are now moving this comedy to the office and the wider corporate environment.
Improvisation-centred learning is becoming very popular in big corporate offices in the US and seems catching on in Ireland and further afield.
Improv Asylum has worked with huge companies such as Prudential, Fidelity, Gillette, Unilever, Google, Raytheon, Lilly, Twitter and Silicon Valley Bank. Since moving to Ireland they have also worked with Google Ireland and are hoping to branch out more and move throughout Europe.
“Irish people have been very receptive to the type of work we do so far. Obviously, there’s a great connection between Boston and here and in fact, one of our first corporate customers in the US was Guinness so we always felt we could do well in Ireland but we’re been taken aback by the level of interest to date,” he said.
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