There may only be a finite number of jokes in the world but year after year the Edinburgh Fringe Festival packs out venues with stand up comedians and others, all telling stories in their own unique way. Whilst some will leave the festival to universal acclaim, particularly if they win the best one-liner award, others will pack up quietly and slip back into everyday life.
With the Fringe well underway the stand out front-runners are already starting to emerge, but even those who don’t take the limelight will generally still have a loyal following. In fact, the way in which a comic style will resonate with one person and not with another is one of the most fascinating aspects of comedy. And it could be argued that those comedians who achieve near-universal acclaim are those who have developed a style which encompasses the centre ground, leaving others to create their success at the cutting, or extreme edges, of humour.
Middle ground or not, cutting-edge or not; for all comedians success comes from deeply understanding their potential audience and then building a style which will resonate with them. In many ways it becomes a partnership, with future material being created in part as a result of audience feedback in the form of laughter, or silence.
Deeply understanding your audience, collaborating with them and constantly being prepared to create new material or tweak existing material in response to feedback; hang on, haven’t we just described the essential elements of a Next Generation Innovation Culture? It’s said that life imitates art, perhaps it’s time for business culture to stand up and stand out with a few lessons from the world of comedy.