Design Research and Strategy, Graduate Student at Carnegie Mellon University
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Creativity and Rationale

Researcher, writer, storyteller, dancer

Improvisation in the Cloud: Devised Theatre in Support of Problem-Finding


 Click to read my excerpt

Click to read my excerpt

Exploratory Research: Inspiration for this paper began a year before the publication. Driven by my need to identify more creative organizational forms and my personal experience playing jazz, I worked with Irene Petrick to research the tools, skills, and mindsets that enable jazz improvisation. This was the foundation for six credit hours of independent study.

Our common insight was that both large, bureaucratic organizations (often seen as the antithesis of creativity) and the performance of improvisational jazz (often seen as one of the purest forms of creativity) are both expressions of a complex set of rules and procedures.

We took our key findings from improvisational jazz and sought them in other improvisational forms. I helped organize a lecture for Irene’s graduate colloquium that featured an improvisational storytelling activity led by Dr. William Doan. I also attended an improvisational dance and physical theatre workshop with Michele Dunleavy.

Applied to Problem-Finding: Our research sprawled across two semesters until we decided to seek a frame and venue to organize and publish this work. We were approached by John Carroll to publish a chapter in his forthcoming book Creativity and Rationale. We worked with Philip Ayoub to publish our peer-reviewed and refereed chapter on how improvisational thinking can enable richer storytelling during the design phase of enterprise systems.


With: Phillip Ayoub, John Carroll, William Doan, Michele Dunleavy, and Irene Petrick

For: Independent study and Springer HCI Series: Creativity and Rationale