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What Does Improv Have To Do With Business?

A Whole Lot, Actually

  • The ability to thrive amid change requires 4 things:
  • The ability to recognize where you are in any given moment
  • The flexibility to choose a new path
  • A willingness to collaborate on a solution
  • The freedom to take a risk…and to learn from failure

I’ve done many corporate trainings in my day but Second City Works is really very unique, innovative and highly enjoyable.

– Rich, Mavens

Great tenets for doing business, right? But these just happen to also be the very same skills we employ in our arena. Improvisation is an art form developed from a need to enhance assimilation, empathy and collaboration.  We didn’t seek out this connection–the findings found us, to say the least. To be honest, we’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t see it sooner.

At Second City Works, the B2B side of The Second City, we use our award-winning improvisation, comedy and audience-driven techniques to bring these principles to life for every type of business and every type of unique workplace challenge in a low-risk, high-energy experience.

We make your brand, your product, your team, your customers the star of the show. We do it because we’ve seen it work, thousands of times over, and we’ve worked tirelessly to identify and define the whys and the hows through our deep commitment to and investment in scientific clinical research.

  • In fact, existing academic research and data already points to the power of improvisation. Here are a few of our favorite examples:
  • Divergent Thinking – “Improvisation encourages people to break away from set patterns of thinking.” –Carine Lewis, Peter J. Lovatt; University of Hertfordshire, UK
  • Negotiation – “Cooperative improvisation yielded more successful negotiations.” –Paul Ingram, William Duggan; Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies
  • Decision Making – “Without improvisation, emergency management loses flexibility in the face of changing conditions.” –David Mendonca, Giampiero E.G. Beroggi, William A. Wallace; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Problem Solving – “Improvisation shows us creativity in action. If shows that – in art, as in life – failures and mistakes can be turned into chances for original and unpredictable achievements.” –Alessandro Bertinetto, University of Udino

How do we achieve all this? With two little words that can change everything:

Yes, and.

That’s it! Our big secret. We teach that by understanding and applying the core improvisational concept  of “Yes, And,” you can pretty much achieve anything. In business–and in life–we are constantly tasked with making something out of nothing: new products, new clients, new strategies, new bosses, new co-workers, new economies.

You can’t do new by saying no.

And you can’t stop at yes.

What we’ve learned over more than half a century can bring out the creativity out in anyone. We can teach you and your team how to create an atmosphere that encourages risk taking and produces better understanding, real results and measurable success.

We get it. The word “improv” can be scary.


  • Here’s what we’re *not* about. (This is the only time you’ll hear “no” from the “yes, and” people.)
  • No two-drink minimum
  • No stand-up
  • No embarrassing anyone
  • Absolutely no trust falls
  • And no, we definitely cannot get you an agent or a two-hour comedy special on premium cable
  • Here’s what we can help you achieve:
  • Increase your team’s ability to respond to curveballs
  • Bounce back from a loss like a boss
  • Manage change like it’s your job–because it is
  • Foster the kind of environment that attracts top-tier new hires

That’s what improv does, in a nutshell.

We understand we’re not for everybody, and that’s okay.

We’re not here for status-seekers, command-and-control freaks, people who are looking to make fun of their boss, or those who live for hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy.

That being said, we’ve worked with over 600 Fortune 1000 companies…and counting.

Who We’ve Worked With

First, we name drop….

Then, we mic drop.

Ready to get to work? Get in touch today. We’re here to listen.

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