Contact Us

works@secondcity.com

Leave this empty:

  1. Your Name

    Your first name is required.
    Your last name is required.
  2. What Is Your Title?

  3. Where Do You Work?

    Your company name is required.
  4. Has a budget been established for this project?

    A budget status is required.
  5. How Can We Reach You?

    A valid email address is required.
  6. What else should we know?

Improvisation is People Centered Rapid Prototyping

Thoughts

By Steve Johnston – President and Managing Partner and Kelly Leonard – Creative Advisor

Why are millions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns that are not effective? Why do so many bad television shows get made? Why do brands make such huge missteps when they try to connect to their core consumers? Because businesses of all stripes spend too much time looking to champion their ideas rather than the best ideas. Internal collaboration is poor and conversations with the audiences that will consume this content either don’t exist or are reduced to dressed up Survey Monkey.

It’s deceptively simple: we need to tap the full creative resources of our teams – and those teams need to include the very audiences we need to connect with. We need to activate the many ways we interact with those audiences if we are going to have any degree of success. And yet so often – we do neither.

The world seems very clear on the necessity to rapid prototype for technology. Of course we need to create models of our work before mass producing. There are bound to be a sea of tiny failures that we’ll only catch when we hold the product in our hand.

But what about rapid prototyping outside of technology? Can you rapid prototype consumer insight, commercials, a brand promise or campaigns?

Absolutely. 100% Yes, And…

Improvisation is people centered rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping allows you to design iteratively and test out with real people whether an early stage idea actually works.

Here is what we know to be true. The Second City has been creating and devising original comedy revues for close to 70 years. With the exception of the occasional fire or cataclysmic ice storm, we have been playing to packed houses 7 nights a week, 365 days a year for that entire time.

The reason? Our shows are prototyped rapidly in front of audiences for twelve weeks before we open them to the critics. In that period, we test out all the material – keeping the stuff that works, throwing out the stuff that doesn’t.

At worst, a Second City show is funny. At best, a Second City show is art that is also funny.

Since most audiences come to us to laugh, our process insures that the bulk of the audience will be getting the thing they came for: to laugh.

However, this process is fully and vitally transferable to anyone who wants to gain insights, try out concepts, model and adapt ideas – harnessing the power of groups of creators developing their work in an ongoing conversation with an audience that is directly in front of them.

“Testing stuff out” shouldn’t be a radical idea, but we’re afraid it is. So many business models siphon off and silo the development of insights and content they forget the singular importance of the end consumer. And how will you know what works if your audience wasn’t that end consumer, but rather, the same five people who loved your last idea?

Putting ideas into play is not novel for us, we do it as an ongoing practice. We do it because it works.

Tags
Brandstage,  Co-create your story with everyone that wants in,  Our clients sit on the sidelines

Related

What Deadpool can teach us about consumer insights (no, really)
Thoughts

What Deadpool can teach us about consumer insights (no, really)

Learn More
America, tronc and Alexander Camelton or Really Stupid Brand Marketing Ideas
Thoughts

America, tronc and Alexander Camelton or Really Stupid Brand Marketing Ideas

Learn More
The Buggy Whip. VHS Rentals. The Focus Group.
Thoughts

The Buggy Whip. VHS Rentals. The Focus Group.

Learn More