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Do Improvise

Less push. More pause. Better results. A new approach to work (and life).

Robert Poynton

Every day we deal with the unplanned and the unexpected, from a broken toaster to losing (or gaining) a major client. Our natural ability to improvise gets us through. But we feel as if we’re winging it, rather than acting with courage and conviction.

Robert Poynton teaches an acclaimed method to some of the world’s biggest brands and companies, including Nike, Chanel and PwC. In this new edition, he shows us how these improvisational skills can be applied to the everyday business of work and life – helping us to navigate the daily obstacles and reminding us how the unplanned and the unexpected can be a source of wonder and delight.

Do Improvise will help you to:

  • Become more productive without trying harder
  • Overcome creative blocks and generate new ideas
  • Respond fluidly to circumstances beyond your control
  • Realise that you don't have to know everything

Not sure what to do next? Improvise.

This paperback purchase includes a free ebook download.


A handbook for spontaneous and creative living, from a brilliant practitioner who lives by his own words.

Adam Morgan, eatbigfish

Robert’s book is insanely relevant as we seek to make sense of our lives and our work practices... I love the book.

Chris Pirie, Founder, The Learning Futures Group

A delightful book by the reliably brilliant Rob Poynton.

John-Paul Flintoff, author of How to Change Your Life

International editions

Improviser - Audiobook coverFrench
Improvisa - Audiobook coverSpanish
Do Improvise - Audiobook coverArabic
Robert’s Do Lecture

Beyond Control. A complex world demands the ability to improvise

Do you have a mind like water? Water is flexible. When it meets an obstacle, it goes around it. Improv teaches us to be flexible. To think of everything as a gift, as an opportunity.

About the author

Robert Poynton is an Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. His work there is practical not academic – he designs and runs executive education programmes, helping senior leaders understand and work with complex change via a playful approach drawn from the methodology of improvisational theatre. His own clients include the BBC, Chanel, Merck and Unilever. He is the author of Do Pause: You are not a To Do list (2019) and Do Conversation: There's no such thing as small talk (2024). And the founder of Yellow, an online learning experience designed in response to the participants rather than a pre-determined curriculum. He has been a contributor to The Skoll World Forum and Singularity University Global Summit. He has led courses on leadership, change and complexity at the IE Business School in Madrid, Ashridge Business School and Schumacher College. He is married with three grown up sons and divides his time between Oxford and an off-grid house in rural Spain.

Product details

  • Pub date: May 2013, new edn 2022
  • Dimensions: 120 x 178mm
  • Extent: 160 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-914168-13-0
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-914168-14-7


Improvised colour illustrations by Nick Parker

Paper & print details

Paperback editions are printed by OZGraf Print on Munken, an FSC-certified paper

Related titles

Do Pause: You are not a To Do listDo Agile - Futureproof your mind. Stay groundedDo Interesting - Notice. Collect. ShareDo Deal - Negotiate better. Find hidden value. Enrich relationshipsDo Conversation – There is no such thing as small talk