When we (Petro and Burgert) started Playing Mantis 6 years ago, we thought that, because our work comes from Applied Theatre its power to bring about transformation and learning is implicit. Stories move people more easily than pie charts, we reasoned, and if people get to try out solutions before they have to implement them, their implementation runs smoother. But we were wrong.
And when people in business started talking about VUCa (the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous nature of our world) we thought this strengthens our position. VUCA requires people to be more agile, innovative, collaborative and engaged – the very same things that we know Applied Theatre methods can provide. And still we were wrong.
We were wrong not because our processes don’t do what they say they can, but for a very different reason.
For long years past leaders and organisational structures have not been designed for quick adaptation, collaboration or innovation. They are designed for stability and predictability so that each person understands their place in a hierarchy and performs their function optimally
This means that not only must our techniques be validated in terms of how well they can help people collaborate and innovate, they must also ‘fit’ into the perception that the industry has of techniques that will be successful.
In response to this state of affairs, we have designed as set of facilitation tools: Our SNETs: Strategic because they are employed with a particular purpose as negotiated by the contract between practitioner and client; Narrative because they are derived from mythic structural patterns and archetypes and because they work with the stories of people about themselves and their world; Embodied because they depend on the projection of characteristics of abstract ideas into pictures, objects or the physical bodies of the participants.
They have been designed for you, the facilitator, coach, consultant OD practitioner, HR or L&D person. As such you understand both the needs of your clients and their contexts as well as the importance of innovation, collaboration, engagement and agility amidst complexity.