For Creativity – See Unlabeled


One of my favorite games played in our business improvisation sessions is See Unlabeled because this game avoids information and attitudes about what you are looking at, and a fresh new experience is possible.

Words are labels.  To get new insight, try to see without distortion, information, narration or descriptions.  New sight becomes possible.

And isn’t creativity about discovering new possibilities?  Here’s how it works.

While sitting and viewing the room, close your eyes. Open them and see the objects in the room without labeling them. Coach yourself as follows:

See whatever object appears without naming it. Open your eyes and see. Look up. Look sideways. See unlabeled.

Now close your eyes again. Open them. See.  See in Slow Motion. See unlabeled.

You may notice how fresh your view became, how each object kept its own space (life) when you allowed everything in its own space. Seeing unlabeled helps you see through the eyes, not with them.

Play See Unlabeled with authority figures, fellow players, friends. You may be amazed at what you see.

Excerpted from Viola Spolin’s work on Improvisation Games. (pg. 52 Theater Games for the Lone Actor)

And note that, as humans, we have a lifelong ability for the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. When we do something different – put ourselves in new and novel a situation – it builds neural pathways – and it allows for brain plasticity.  Get out and play.

Image is by Rene’ Magritte as seen at MoMA’s 2013 exhibit: Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938