It is a busy Friday afternoon at a five-star hotel in suburban Mumbai. Employees of a large manufacturing company are busy in an interactive session. But no, they are not in a corporate seminar where they discuss business strategies. Instead, they are enacting some scenes attentively trying to gauge the reaction of their fellow participants.
Actcelerate is an experiential training company that uses theatre, meditation, cinema & improvisation (TIMC) to help individuals improve creativity and have an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking at their workplace. The company aims to unlock the emotional quotient and rekindle the spark of creativity of each person.
With sessions ranging from 2 hours to up to 3 days, the workshops look to solve particular problems of companies. Prashant Chawla, Founder and Facilitator, Actcelerate explained that being a chartered accountant by qualification, he was well aware of the fact that a regular 9-5 corporate job tends to get monotonous and hence they would need something to bring out the enthusiasm and creativity back to their workplace.
“Depending on what a company is specifically looking for, we offer a package that is suitable to their needs. It could range from team-building, employee engagement, ideation for new products or innovation,” he added. Actcelerate was initially set up to train actors, but has now expanded to corporates in FY14 after holding a slew of trial sessions.
Currently, they offer their solutions to companies including Tata Power, CRISIL, Radio Mirchi (Times Group), General Mills, Larsen & Toubro, Dentsu Aegis, Pepperfry, First Gulf Bank, Essentially Precise (Dubai), Price Global(Dubai), Ernst & Young(Singapore) and CEAT Tyres, among others.
Chawla said that theatre has the power to bring out the innermost emotions of individuals which a regular training session is unable to provide. Through his professional acting experiences and learnings at the National School of Drama, Chawla uses several techniques to help break the internal barriers created by individuals at the workplace.
Actcelerate aims to offer a solution customised for every company’s budget and requirement. Chawla said that even if a company is unable to afford a two-day session, they can conduct half-day or full session for a larger pool of employees so that they get a taste of the services offered.
As children, we always seek new experiences. As we grow, we drop the sense of adventure and wear new masks. This is when a little drama, acting and theatre can revive the childlike nature that lies latent in us. Actcelerate is a unique concept that injects creativity, innovation and joy at work by tapping our adventurous side.
Actcelerate aspires to bring in growth and innovation within every organisation. Theatre, improvisation, meditation and cinema (TIMC) will create synergy on a physical, mental and an emotional level. It synchronises our mind, body and soul, and controls our interactions through voice and facial expressions. While kindling a spark of fun, creativity and authentic connections between people, it unleashes their full potential.
Depending on the hierarchy and the seniority in an organisation, the workshops are designed to meet the varied needs. For instance, workshops named ‘The Godfather, Million Dollar Arms or Happy Sunshine’ are aimed at providing ownership towards people, rejuvenation and power to take strategic decisions. Million Dollar Arms uses theatre, improvisation and cinema with an aim to inspire people to create an innovative vision and direction for the organisation.
Chawla said that this also helps organisations in their retention efforts since this motivates employees to stay focused and loyal to their current company and brings creativity and newness in work. “Employees also realise that their organisation is investing to make them happy. This improves their loyalty and breaks their linear thinking as well,” he said.
Going forward, the company is looking to bring many more companies under their umbrella of services. He added that while they are not for any funding opportunities right now, he will be looking to hire assistants who could conduct smaller workshops if he is unable to be present.
Also, he said that they would also encourage companies to have interval sessions for their employees every two to three months so that they can get a ‘refresher’ course in their careers and thinking abilities on a more regular basis.
“That is the power of theatre. You could not only gain a more engaged workforce but also create a lot of positivity in the workplace that motivates every individual to have a renewed enthusiasm towards even the most mundane jobs,” said Chawla.