Quantum Leap Business Improv

Improvisation, Storytelling and Theater-based Organizational Programs 
for Leaps in Thinking, Being and Innovating


We are pioneers in the field of Applied Improvisation. Since the late 90s, we've been using Improv-based Principles and Practices with organizations, leaders and professional development groups. CEO Michelle James has been doing improv since 1996, is a member of the Applied Improvisation Network, and performed full-length improvised plays with a professional improv troupe from 2001-2010. She is currently in a Playback Theatre performance group.

"A profound and transformative experience.
Thank you!" ~ Jason Schwartz, Vice President of Sales, Clean Currents

We customize programs based upon your learning objectives and business goals in areas such as:

• Team and Community Building
• Creative Thinking
• Improvisational Leadership
• Innovation
• Product Development

• New Solution Finding
• Change Management 
• Idea Generation
• Vision & Strategy Development

• Sales & Marketing

• Jumpstarting Inspiration
• Risk Taking
• Innovative Culture
• Organizational Storytelling
• Fun & Aliveness!

Why Improv?

Improv and Inspiration

• Raises energy, alertness and positive feelings
• Engages & integrates different parts of the brain & body
• Unleashes an aliveness only found in the  moment
• Increases self awareness and expands self concept
• Becomes self motivating because it’s fun
• Awakens & focuses previously dormant creative potential
• Generates edge-of-your-seat excitement

Improv and Ideation

• Creates new neural pathways and releases endorphins
• Fosters the ability to think on your feet & under pressure
• Develops confidence in navigating the unknown
• Generate more novel ideas in a shorter amount of time
• Develops flexible thinking
• Activates the imagination in new and surprising ways
• Expands the "playing field" of the mind

Improv and Innovation

• Enables more risk taking and spontaneous behaviors
• Shakes people out of traditional ways of doing things
• Increases ability to add to other’s ideas in inventive ways
• Challenges assumptions
• Breaks habitual patterns of thinking, being, and doing
• Fosters experimentation without fear of failure
• Allows new patterns, directions & prototypes to emerge

Improv and the Creative Team/Culture

• Instantly equalizes every member of the group
• Breaks down barriers quickly and non-threateningly
• Sets the stage for ongoing generative co-creation
• Increases trust between team/group/org. members
• Fosters thinking in terms of OURS. “Look what WE did!”
• Enhances the skill of supporting; giving and receiving
• Engages the whole person & whole team

Once people feel comfortable, there is no end to what they can accomplish. Improv-based learning helps people feel comfortable with their creativity: putting ideas out there, taking more risks, making mistakes and accepting others.

Workshops and Programs

We customize our improv-based workshop or program for you. Topics have included improv for leaders, innovation and implementation, inspiration, team building, creative thinking, thinking on your feet, the act of discovery, creative culture, playfulness, fun and connection, and
principles and practices in action among many others. Our workshops run anywhere from a half-day in-house to a 5-day off-site retreat, and we have ongoing programs with coaching support as well.

Performances and Live Industrials

Quantum Leap Theater uses scripted live performances as a tool for creativity, innovation, and team building/group co-creating. From live industrials to interactive performances to part scripted/part improvised learning performances, we use theater and storytelling in whatever way best suits your organizational development needs.

Improv Train-the-Trainer

We offer a program called Creative Facilitation for anyone who leads or trains groups. We come into your organization or do an off-site retreat and train your facilitators and trainers to use easy-to-apply improv techniques with your staff. This is also one of our most popular public workshops.

Our Pioneering Clients

Organizations who have used our improv-based programs include Panasonic, Deloitte, Microsoft, PepsiCo, John Deere, Dominos, RAPP, GEICO Insurance, World Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Clean Currents Inc., Persuadable Research Corporation, Net Impact/UVA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Congressional Hunger Center, Invest Northern Ireland, National Institutes of Health, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, National Cancer Institute, Create Express, US Geological Survey, US Army, MoCo Council of Arts & Humanities, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, VA Housing Development Authority, Culture Blueprint and Service Employees International Union among others - and facilitate ongoing Improv for Leaders workshops for the Federal Executive Institute. We've also facilitated improv-based sessions at international conferences and events such as the Front End of Innovation Conferences, Creativity and Imagination DoubleFestival, The Market Research Event, Toastmasters Conferences, and many more.

Review from the 2014 Front End of Innovation Conference: http://bit.ly/1tW0ruX

Michelle's Improv Story

I have studied and practiced improv since 1996. I’ve experienced short-form, long-form, and "tornado" form improv, and performed full-length, completely improvised plays for from 2001 to 2010. Each week, a unique and different play emerged from our troupe of 4 or 5. When it worked, it looked like magic. Our audience would say, "That HAD to be scripted." It wasn’t. But when it didn't, they'd say, "That looked hard." It was.

I became fascinated by what mades improv work. What creates peak level creativity in our group and others? What allows a coherent, sense-making structure to emerge from nothing but a location? Why did it work sometimes and not as well at others? I discovered it was all about being present, committing to the good of the whole and adhering to the improv principles and "ways of being" (i.e., Make everyone else look good and Yes And).

If the improvisers adhered to certain ways of being, creativity would skyrocket. And so would the coherence of the play. The brain is naturally a meaning making system, and I observed a self-organized logic that would show up in the better plays that was lacking in the others. The more in-the-moment the performers would stay (in other words, getting out of our own way), and the more supportive of their team, the more coherent and organized the play would be.

I became a serious student of improv theory - reading the seminal books in the field and observing the patterns in my group and other groups. I soon recognized the connections between adhering to the principles of improvisational theater in a performance and being able to adapt, create and improvise effectively in the work place. The same principles that allow a performing group to create a 90-minute play out of nothing but a location are the same principles that allow groups, teams, and organizations to solve problems in new ways and reach peak levels of creativity and innovative thinking, and become a more cohesive team. The principles are the container that allow individuals to innovate and the self-organizing creativity of a group to get to the next level.

Passionate about the transformative power of improv outside of the performance setting, I teamed up with other like-minded souls who do similar work and established Quantum Leap Business Improv.