The next consultant to visit your office may not be from McKinsey.
Few hard-charging business leaders have put imaginary boxes at their employees’ feet (or paid anyone else to), but they should, says Steve Johnston, managing partner at Second City Works, the theater’s corporate-training subsidiary. Clients, including Google, Farmers Insurance, and Dow Chemical, are using improv techniques to foster communication, collaboration, and creativity. These are not necessarily skills MBAs are learning in business schools. “They come out really strong on the quant skills,” Johnston says, “but not so much on the soft ones.”