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Mike Gorgone UX Strategist Contractor at Ernst & Young
  • I am someone who loves being part of a creative, supportive and collaborative design team that builds engaging experiences for digital products at a company that fosters a culture that values design thinking and makes it a priority in how the company runs and solves problems. I currently get to do all of the above in the Experience Design (XD) Group at EY. The Group is divided into Strategy, Creative, and Technology disciplines. The XD Group collaborates heavily with leadership and stakeholders to align with business goals and strategy.

    I discovered Improv when I lived in Chicago and started taking classes at Second City and iO (formerly improvOlympic). Improv taught me how to be present and more aware of the moment as well as how to listen and absorb information instead of just listening to respond. I also learned (and frequently witnessed) that a group can create more amazing and incredible work when collaborating together in a non-judgmental and supportive manner than any of those individuals could have created working alone. You can keep up with Mike at ImprovUX (@improvux) or (@mikegorgone)



09:00 - 12:30

Room 5


09:00 - 12:30

Room 5

Improv UX Empathy, Understanding and Creative Collaboration Through Improvisation

ImprovUX is a fun and INTERACTIVE workshop that apply the skills of Improvisation (listening, acceptance, support, collaboration, letting go of judgment, etc.) to the world of User Experience.

User Experience relies on gathering Qualitative data from our potential users through interviews, surveys and other methods. In order to connect with the users, we need to build trust and empathy as quickly and strongly as possible.

During the interview process we need to be hyper-aware off all the information being provided to us by the users. For us this means putting our own preconceptions and biases in the backseat and focusing on being in the present moment in order to collect all of the tiny bits of information, both verbal and nonverbal, which lead to a deeper understanding of the users and what they’re communicating.

When we’re done gathering information we need to make some sense of all the data. The goal of the analysis phase is to look for ways to creatively connect seemingly disparate information together to discover opportunities for improving users’ experiences. There are many possible solutions and it’s the job of the team to converge on the ones they believe are the most important. The end result of all this work is a solution that helps users accomplish their tasks and goals in ways they never even thought possible. 

The skills needed to work through the above phases of connecting, collecting and converging call be found in Improvisation...

What topics will be covered?

  • Introduction to Improv Fundamentals
  • Connecting through listening, empathy and trust
  • Learning about awareness and paying attention for patterns and themes
  • Freeing yourself to be more creative to inspire better ideation

What exercises will be done?

Improv based exercises that get everyone involved, up and moving and experiencing the topics being covered.

The exercises focus on:

  • Listening/Focus
  • Non-Judgement
  • Acceptance
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Agility
  • Risk
  • Change

What will the audience take away from this workshop?

This workshop is focusing more on soft skills. The attendees will get to go home with exercises that can be performed by them with their fellow employees.

The biggest takeaway is the introduction to improv and how many of its skills translate over into UX work. I hope to inspire the attendees to continue investigating improv when they get home, hopefully to the point where they will take classes to continue building on what they've done at the workshop.

Any requirements for attending?

An open mind and a willingness to get out of your comfort zone.