Book review: The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work

Book by Karen Hough

Reviewed by Carol Meerschaert

As a staff member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, an organization that offers a radical hospitality experience, reading a book with a theme of radical collaboration warmed my heart and peaked my interest.

The introduction of this book describes “your biggest problem at work and the most unexpected solution.” This section examines how work issues are tied to the need to collaborate, be flexible, and most importantly engage and engender trust. Karen then shares how the four secrets of improvisation solves these problems.

Theatrical improvisers rely on trust in each other to succeed. In addition they demonstrate the vital business skills of risk management and radical collaboration. Improv teaches people to turn disasters into opportunities.

Chapter one details how an atmosphere of acceptance and a positive nature creates deep capacities for collaboration, innovation and acceptance. Chapter two examines the deep meaning of the word “and” and explains why it is critical to get in there and play. Chapter three explores radical collaboration. Chapter four brings us from “opps to eureka” so we learn how the unexpected can actually create advantages.

Karen’s workshop was the top rated workshop at the HBA 2012 Leadership Conference and her workshops at the HBA 2013 Leadership Conference is sold out.

Karen’s second book with publisher, Berrett-Koehle, “Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever! Break the Rules, Make Mistakes and Win Them Over” will be published in 2014.

Karen Hough is the founder and CEO of ImprovEdge, a company that creates learning experiences, training and consulting using improvisation to teach business skills. For many years a senior sales executive in the networking engineering industry, she has also been a professional improviser and actor for 20 years, including training at Chicago’s legendary Second City.


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