Working Live: Improvisation for life and work

Working Live: Improvisation for work and life

“Working Live” is a two day workshop led by Steve Chapman and Caryn Vanstone in which you are invited explore the idea that organisations (and other social phenomena) are not things to be manipulated and controlled but complex, responsive social processes in which we all participate and influence.  This perspective suggests that whilst we may be in charge to some degree, we cannot be in control and that every action results in a reaction that is as predictable as it is unpredictable.  What are the implications and practical skills of this for leaders, consultants, coaches and human beings in general working with complex change in a live and improvised way?

This workshop is for anybody who is interested in culture change, be that as a change consultant, HR professional, change agents or developer, social activist or anyone who is interested in learning to better improvise and work with what is, rather than what should be.  As uncertainty is the only thing we can be certain of, the ability to improvise is as, if not more, valuable than the ability to strategise.

This workshop is an abridged and updated version of the four day workshop that Steve and Caryn used to teach on the groundbreaking Ashridge MSc in organisational change.

We run this workshop on an “on demand” basis and set a date when we have enough interested participants.  If you would like to register your interest then e-mail Steve.


Caryn Vanstone’s work is all centred on helping ‘stuck’ organisations discover new energy, engagement, innovation and speed – while growing their sense of accountability and ethical decision making. For me, adult accountability comes as a result of freedom and responsibility – not in the absence of it (that is just compliance at best, and subversion at worst). So working to release people to make fast, disciplined, socially responsible and innovative decisions together is right at the essence of agile, cost-effective and sustainable organisations. To this work I bring a combination of deep study in psychology, sociology and applied neuro-science .. along with over 20 years of practical experience and experimentation in applied improvisation – working alongside comedians, jazz musicians and theatre coaches. Having started this interest as an internal OD specialist, I moved to external consulting in 1999 and have worked since with many of the world’s largest companies.

Steve Chapman is interested in spontaneity, creativity and being playful with not knowing.   He specialises in crashing together ideas from the complexity sciences, gestalt psychology and various therapeutic creative practices to help individuals and organisations navigate their way through change in a way that is more responsive, lively and innovative.  He holds an MSc with distinction in organisational change and is visiting faculty on the Ashridge Business School and Metanoia Organisational Development MSc programmes.  In addition to this Steve has trained in improvisation with Keith Johnstone (Loose Moose, Calgary), John Cremer (The Maydays, Brighton), Neil Mullarkey (The Comedy Store, London) and the late Jason Chin (iO, Chicago) and in mask work with Steve Jarand, Trestle Theatre and Strangeface Theatre. He has also undertaken a foundation programme in Art Therapy. He is the author of “Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World” and “100 Crap Faces.”