New partnership with Second City Works and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to study how improvisation can promote better workplace dynamics
January 31, 2017
Second City Works, the business-to-business arm of the iconic comedy theater The Second City, announced an academic partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to explore how evidence-based insights and practices of improvisation can enhance communication, collaboration, and well-being in everyday life. The first step for this partnership joining art and science is the launch of RewireU, an educational program with classes at The Second City beginning Feb. 22. Related content will follow for Chicago Booth executive education programs, starting with Strategic Business Leadership in mid-March.
By way of a pop-up research lab at The Second City, the partnership of these two iconic Chicago institutions will integrate insights from Chicago Booth’s Center for Decision Research (CDR) with Second City Works and The Second City Training Center’s teachings to identify how improvisation can create happier and more productive individuals and organizations in the increasingly collaborative workplace.
“Improvisation is at the heart of everyday social interaction, whether it’s adjusting to new environments, responding to obstacles or pivoting strategy in the workplace,” said Kelly Leonard, newly appointed Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at The Second City. “Inspired by The Second City’s educational methods, we are partnering with Chicago Booth to take improvisation beyond the traditional performance space and empower individuals to leverage it for professional and social success.”
“When three University of Chicago alumni - Paul Sills, Bernard Sahlins and Howard Alk - founded The Second City in 1959, it would have been inconceivable to think that their work in improvisation would one day play a role in workplace behavior research at their esteemed alma mater,” added Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City.
Chicago Booth’s CDR will be the exclusive research partner informing RewireU and future educational offerings with Second City Works and The Second City Training Center. The partners will collaborate to conduct rigorous and creative behavioral science research, engaging audience members, students, and clients that come through The Second City.
“Our commitment to understanding real human behavior makes this partnership a natural and exciting collaboration for the CDR,” said Heather Caruso, executive director of Booth’s CDR. “As any participant in improvisational exercises knows, these practices make it possible for each of us to more clearly recognize some of the most interesting aspects of our everyday human nature—our impulses, hopes, anxieties, habits, and our untapped abilities to guide ourselves toward more fulfilling behavior through insight and practice. We look forward to sharing our findings in the classroom and beyond.”
As the first educational offering to emerge from the partnership, RewireU will teach students to better improvise their way through the workplace with attitudes and skills such as being nimble, adaptable and accepting of ideas. Classes are broken into two halves, with the first immersing participants in improvisational exercises and the second applying resultant evidence-based insights to the workplace through reflection, play and discussion.
RewireU will be offered in both intensive two-and-a-half day or immersive five-week courses, beginning in mid-February. For a full RewireU class schedule and more information about the program, visit www.secondcity.com/rewireu/.
About The Second City
Beginning as a small cabaret theater on Chicago's north side in 1959, The Second City has grown to become the global leader in improvisation and sketch comedy based on its core improvisational methodologies. Resident theaters in Chicago and Toronto create topical sketch comedy revues that satirize politics, culture and news of the day. Additionally, Second City performs thousands of shows each year in regional theaters, colleges and performing arts centers. Beyond its stages, The Second City Training Center is the foremost school of improvisation-based arts in the world with facilities in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles that currently enroll more than 11,000 students annually. Second City Works, the B2B arm of the company, works with more than 600 companies annually to bring the principles of improvisation to the workplace. The Second City's foray into television and new media continues to produce new content and programming, including the classic, Emmy Award-winning comedy series SCTV.
About the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Founded in 1898, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is the second-oldest business school and the first and only school with permanent campuses in North America, Asia and Europe. With a faculty of more than 200, Chicago Booth consistently ranks among the top business schools in the world. Booth has more than 3,000 MBA, executive MBA and doctoral students and a powerful network of more than 50,000 accomplished alumni. The Chicago Approach to management education is distinguished by how it leverages fundamental knowledge, its rigor and its practical application to business challenges.
About the Chicago Booth Center for Decision Research (CDR)
Founded in 1977, the Center for Decision Research (CDR) at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is a global hub for behavioral science research, devoted to the study of how individuals form judgments and make decisions. The pioneering researchers at the Center use science to deepen our understanding of all aspects of the human experience. Working with insights from numerous disciplines— including psychology, economics, political science, neuroscience and sociology—CDR researchers apply rigorous methods of scientific investigation to examine the processes by which intuition, reasoning and social interaction produce beliefs, judgments and choices. The research advances understanding of human behavior in fields as diverse as finance, marketing, management, health care, and politics.