Workshops for Organizations

“I think about traditional brainstorming, I think we all know how to do that. And I
wonder if we can brainstorm in a different way, to say, let’s think of the most
impossible things first. Not just what’s in the realm of possibility… even if people
think it’s crazy, to say, ‘let’s give it a week. Play it out, see if it’s possible to make what
seems impossible reality.’ And you might find you get some richer conversations. This
goes to the earlier point… what can I frame up, what can I do that gives people a
different way to engage with me, or with a project?” –Participant, “Fail Better: A Workshop in Productive Failure” at Turner Broadcasting

“Applied Mechanics came to Microsoft to teach me and my team how to unlock our  creativity. The workshop was invaluable for everyone: designers, engineers, artists, and managers. We were able to see new solutions to old problems, bond as a team, and be empowered as creative leaders. Their visit was a truly unique and impactful experience.”   – Jeremy Lee, Microsoft

Applied Mechanics is at the vanguard of collaborative development and inclusive performance. Our work reflects the contemporary moment, where participatory performance is a daily reality and narrative multiplicity is the growing way of the world. From Facebook to the crowdsourcing of popular histories and biogenetics research, our world requires its citizens to engage the public sphere and to work together to create shared stories. Within organizations, an increasing emphasis on the value of participation, collaboration, and horizontal leadership reflects this broader social and technological shift, demanding new skill sets from teams, managers, and individuals in order to succeed.

Applied Mechanics workshops enable participants to develop these new skills with creativity and panache. Focused on risk-taking, innovation, and collaboration, our workshops guide participants in a series of exercises that will empower them to work together with depth and rigor while generating unique creative content.  Across four different workshops addressing collaborative leadership, communication strategies, productive failure, and creative problem solving, participants may learn strategies in creative research, immersive design and production, collaborative writing, physical and object-driven exploration, world building and critical creative response. We tailor each workshop to the specific needs of each organization, with workshops lasting from two hours to several days. We will work with you in advance of the workshop to establish how we can meet your needs, so please let us know if you would like us to work with you on developing a workshop on a topic not listed below. We have led workshops at all kinds of organizations, from large corporations to universities and non-profits, and are happy to scale our services to meet your needs.

Our previous clients include Turner Broadcasting, Microsoft, University of the Arts, and the New England Literature Program.

If you would like to know more about our programs and pricing, please contact Applied Mechanics Development Director Jessica Hurley at jessica.hurley@gmail.com.

 

Workshops:

Communication Strategies

Working and collaborating as a team requires a healthy understanding of a project at large and each member understanding how their part interacts with the whole. As Applied Mechanics well knows after seven years of creating immersive, parallel-narrative theater, in such an environment effective communication can mean the difference between synergy and chaos. In this workshop, we will work with you and your team to develop elements of communication including active listening, creating new collaborative models, and how to turn miscommunication into an opportunity for new ideas and relationships to emerge. You will investigate the layers of communication through language, movement, and interpersonal relationships; through a series of written, oral, and physical exercises, you will learn the many different ways in which ideas can be successfully communicated as well as how to establish a productive team environment within which communication can flourish.

Fail Better: A Workshop in Productive Failure

“Failure happens. This is a foregone conclusion when working with complex systems.” -John Allspaw, Etsy.com

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett

Creativity and innovation are vital to the success of individuals, teams, and companies in today’s business world. But a commitment to creative innovation is all often paired with a commitment to old definitions of success, reducing the incentives to take risks, try radically new approaches, or set aside existing ideas about “what works.” This workshop is designed to teach you how to fail. Through a sequence of physical and creative exercises, you and your team will learn how to generate entirely new concepts and materials…and then throw them away. By the end of the day, you’ll be able to fail productively, with the skills to operate with greater creativity and risk-taking in your approach as well as to assess, learn from, and move beyond your failures.

Practicing the Impossible: An Approach to Creative Problem-Solving

Alice said: “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Corporate culture in the 21st century is evolving more rapidly than ever before. Systems of practice can become outdated in the blink of an eye. An effective strategy team, however, sees every new problem as an opportunity for innovation. The Creative Problem Solving workshop pushes you to think farther outside of the box than you may have thought possible. Applied Mechanics’ methodology allows you to access and depend on your whole-brain creative capacities, plunging you into writing and movement exercises that emphasize continual output and banish self-critique. The critical impulse is held at bay long enough for a team to imagine ideas that might otherwise be dismissed as “impossible.” This workshop gives a team the tools to adapt and transform, valuing imagination as a skill to be cultivated and practiced.

Collaborative Leadership & Team Building

Successful leadership relies on the ability to strike a balance between leadership and collaboration. Applied Mechanics has been running itself for over seven years on a co-operative model relying on leadership without hierarchy. Both our business and artistic models depend on our individual abilities to shift seamlessly between leading and collaborating. In this workshop, you and your team will spend an entire day building a fictional world. In order to do so, you’ll have to both lead and follow, working together to establish rules and systems, complete tasks, and achieve long-term objectives. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have developed new strategies for working creatively and effectively with others whether you’re the most junior member of the team or its CEO.