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Evolving improvised ideation from humour constructs : a new method for collaborative divergence

Hatcher, Gillian and Ion, William and MacLachlan, Ross and Sheridan, Marion and Simpson, Barbara and Wodehouse, Andrew (2018) Evolving improvised ideation from humour constructs : a new method for collaborative divergence. Creativity and Innovation Management, 27 (1). pp. 91-101. ISSN 0963-1690

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This paper reviews and applies key principles from improvised comedy (‘improv’) to overcome common barriers in effective group ideation, resulting in the formulation and presentation of a new creative idea generation method. The emergence of an innovative product design can be compared to the telling of a funny joke - both combine seemingly unconnected ideas in a way that is both surprising and satisfying. Our research expands upon this link between humour and creativity, and operationalises the improv principles best suited to the conceptual design process. A workshop-based methodology was used to select, develop and refine the method protocol and facilitation technique. Participant feedback and observations have demonstrated how this approach can expand the solution space to support the generation of bold, innovative ideas. Finally, we present a step-by-step guide for the new ‘design improv’ method and discuss its potential value in the generation of creative ideas in a group ideation context.