How Improv Comedy Can Help Creative Agencies Travel at the Speed of Ideas
with Shawn Westfall
Creativity on-demand: it’s what our clients expect of us and pay us for. They want unique, unprecedented ideas for bringing attention to their product or service, and they want them yesterday. But given the everyday demands and deadline-pressures of our industry, how can we be creative quickly? And how can we ensure the best ideas not only float to the top in creative brainstorms or strategy sessions, but actually end up in front of our clients?
Enter improvisational comedy: improvisational comedians are experts in being very creative very quickly: collaborating without ego or judgement, accepting each others ideas unhesitatingly without question, they forge — in the moment — contexts, premises, and entire worlds, shaping them into comedic hilarity, energy, and brilliance — all in front of a live audiences. And the principles of improv comedy are not only fun and rather easily learned, but can result in better team cohesion — and more creative ideas.
Leading this workshop will be Shawn Westfall, founder and CEO of Commedia Partners, LLC, a creative consultancy based in Washington, DC that specializes in bringing the foundational principles of improv comedy to various private and public organizations — including Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and NGOs — as a strategy for fostering creativity, leadership, team-building, change-management, and business strategy. He was also, for nearly two decades prior, an advertising creative at ad agencies around the country, most recently as a Senior Creative and Strategist at Proof Integrated Communications, a division of Burson-Marsteller. In addition, he’s been the exclusive teacher of improvisational comedy at the DC Improv, in Washington, DC, for 12 years. Not only has he taught the principles of improv to individual students, he’s taught them to organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Discovery Communications, B’nai Brith Youth Organization, Touchstone Consulting, Booz Allen Hamilton, 360Live Media, Ogilvy, Burson-Marsteller, The Washington Post Company, GEICO, The World Bank, AIPAC, Chipotle, ShotSpotter, Flying Dog Brewery, the consulate for the Embassy of Indonesia, SRA International, the National Institutes of Health, Sol Systems, and Hello, Cupcake!, among numerous others.