Getting to Yes, And

Improvising Backable


Suneel Gupta and Anne Libera

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Kelly welcomes back Suneel Gupta and Anne Libera to the podcast. They are collaborating on a new class for Northwestern University's Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation - taking Suneel's insights from his bestselling book "Backable" and creating bespoke improvisational practices for the students.

Anne, what sparked you when you heard the idea that Second City could partner with Suneel on a Backable class at Northwestern.

“I think the biggest connection and one of the things that I keep talking about in terms of improvisation, is that it's a practice. And if I'm an evangelist for something, it is the idea that you can use these exercises to practice being better at communicating; at convincing; at being a better human in general. So to Suneel's focus on playing exhibition matches and the ways in which you can practice immediately sparked things for me.”

Suneel, I like how you frame it as playing the game of now. Talk to us about that.

“Where I think we - as people in our lives - we can choose to play the game of someday or we can choose to play the game of now. The difference is with the game of someday we wait for courage before we take action.  We build up enough audacity and courage and then we act.

With the game of now. it's really the reverse: you act and then you let courage catch up along the way”

So what excites you most about this class.

“One of the really exciting things about the class is that the students applied and they had to apply with an idea. So they applied with an idea they were already passionate about, and that was one of the things that struck me is how many of these students already have ideas about how to change something that needs to be changed.   And solutions and that passion for changing, not just the business sector, but the passion for changing the LIFE sector. And, I mean that in terms of when I say life, not just like lifestyle, but genuinely the value of people's lives.”


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