"Life is too important to be taken seriously." Oscar Wilde
I first met Gregg Fraley in his role as head of the Chicago Chapter of the Creative Education Foundation (CEF). Gregg was leading a public session on a creativity-related topic in observance of "Creativity Week", scheduled annually in April around the birthday of creative juggernaut Leonardo da Vinci. (Shout out to Creativity Week founder Marci Segal.) For several years, we collaborated on local CEF events, volunteered for community outreach projects, interacted at the annual Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) and when our schedules permitted, engaged in creative goofing off.
In late 2005, Gregg called me and suggested that we join forces in creating a public workshop on creativity for which we would enlighten the unenlightened, inspire the uninspired, shock the complacent, mock ourselves and maybe make some cash money while we were at it. As we played with ideas for the seminar, we searched for ways to provide added value that would be relatively unique. As we were both former stand-up comedians and trained improvisational actors, we began to play with pedagogical schemes that would combine what we knew of applied creativity -- mostly CPS (Osborn-Parnes) and improvisation, largely inspired by Viola Spolin, her son Paul Sills, and other adherents as Keith Johnstone, Bernie Solins and Del Close. Our playful collaboration back and forth resulted in the concept of "Innovisation".
As it turned out, the workshop we envisioned did not materialize just then. Instead what followed was a leap into podcasting, actually first as "Da Creativity Guys" (Inspired by Click & Clack of NPR's "The Car Guys"), then as "Da Innovise Guys" and by our third podcast, "The Innovise Guys". It has been over a year now, and our podcast continues to be one of the leading podcasts on innovation and creativity on the Internet. In the process, The Innovise Guys have also become a business consulting partnership and a traveling global road show -- with workshop and/or keynote appearances at CPSI, The Applied Improvisation Network conference, Mind Camp (Not including Gregg Fraley's keynote side trips to Great Britain & South Africa) and others scheduled for ACA, E2E, NSA, CREA in Sestri Levante - Italy and The Innovation & Creativity conference at Dublin City College ... All of this just through May of 2007.
In our first year, we've been privileged to interview a cornucopia of creative professionals and enthusiasts, workshop with countless others and had a lot of fun along the way. While many diverse topics related to creativity or innovation have earned our focus, we have an emphasis on results-driven innovation in business and organizations. In our practice, while very diverse in our offerings, our focus on our emerging and evolving specialty dubbed "Innovisation" has also placed an emphasis on fun and humor, all the while witnessing the breakthrough synergies that result from fusing time-tested CPS tool and techniques with the playful, child-based games in improvisational theater. In our workshops, as in our podcasts, we have fun, but all the while with our higher purpose in mind.
So, welcome to our adventure. We hope to make this blog a place of amusement, insight and meaningful dialogue for everyone interested in creativity and bringing forth the novel and new things that will make a difference. In the spirit of improv, we invite you to join in and promise to support your initiations and, as best we can, make you look good, "Yes, and" your ideas ... and so much more. In so doing, while we are results-driven in our work, we will reassert the primacy of play in all that we do, especially, as Wilde's quote suggests, around the most serious of challenges.
As another pundit, quintessential American humorist Mark Twain once asserted, "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right."
While we are most often on the same page, Gregg & I have our own voice, so as we express our opinions here, we will identify ourselves, so that you know which one of us to be pissed off at ... or in the unlikely event, know to whom specifically to send the plaque for that literary or humanitarian award.
Doug Stevenson for The Innovise Guys ... March 3, 2007