Lunchtime Links: Don’t be Afraid of Improvisation

Lessons on making room for innovation within a traditional context from Comedy Central's newest hit show, Key and Peele. Also: How The Office taught one writer key lessons in professionalism.

Just because it worked before doesn’t mean you have to do it the exact same way every time.

Let’s say, for example, you want to refresh your membership model. Your board wants you to stick with a  traditional one-size-fits-all model, but you want to try a more personalized one. Maybe what you need is a little room for improvisation.

Lessons from a hit Comedy Central show, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Innovation within tradition: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele did not want their sketch show, Key and Peele, to be the new Chappelle’s Show. Even though Comedy Central wanted the pair to fill the void Dave Chappelle left when he left the network, the duo had other plans: They wanted to focus on improvisation and show off a cinematic quality in their sketches. They were shooting for a different target audience. “Comedy Central wanted Key and Peele to follow Chappelle’s old formula to the letter—so much so that the network insisted that these new guys introduce their sketches onstage in front of a live audience, just as Chappelle did. Key and Peele do that—but nothing else about their show resembles Chappelle’s hit,” Fast Company notes. Likewise, just because something worked for your association’s members before doesn’t mean it’s exactly the way to go now. In other words, recreate “tradition” to fit your members’ needs.

Real-life TV lessons: As NBC’s sitcom The Office reaches its end, some are looking back at what they’ve learned from their favorite characters. Kathy Deters, senior writer and social media manager for St. Louis Sprout & About magazine, highlights some of the lessons the show has taught her about professional life, such as maintaining transparency in the organization, holding meetings when necessary and doing everything with passion. “Whether it was running a corporation or managing a beet farm, the employees of Dunder Mifflin brought passion to their work.… Do what you love, love what you do, and don’t be afraid to play a little air guitar when the mood strikes,” Deters writes on SCD Group’s blog. (She says she’ll miss Dwight the most.)

Learning by doing: According to Velvet Chainsaw’s Jeff Hurt, focusing on the design and structure of what you’re teaching is key. Basing his stance on research from Deloitte’s Nick van Dam and the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ Jane Hart, Hurt explains that it’s up to meeting professionals to ensure speakers are using learning design tools (such as presentations, handouts, and collaborative educational approaches) while teaching professionals. “Focusing on information transfer via a typical conference education session lecture is not enough to insure that the audience retains the information. Instead, meeting professionals must begin to focus on the learning design of the session if they want their audience to really learn the information and retain it so they can apply it on the job,” Hurt explains in a blog post. What interactive methods have you found work well for your conferences?

What interesting reads have you found today? Let us know in your comments below.

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the stars of "Key & Peele." (Comedy Central photo)

Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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