Improvisation is a vital and healthy exercise, where we temporarily ignore logic, rules, and plans, sometimes even sacrificing part of consciousness and self-control, while following intuition: instinct, genome, habit, and free imagination.
It is to live the moment no one expects what comes of next, and all the mysteries and indefinite time units it has (micro/nano/femto... seconds). It is eternity as seen from a vertical perspective, that we should equally live to the full as we do life itself, seeking immortality within as without, and learning to enjoy whatever one gets, respect the power of moment and be grateful for.
Improvisation is the best way to discover new shortcuts on the road of life, when old routes are blocked, misleading, or dangerous, and change is a must. We have to break rules then, giving free reign to our feelings, equally expressing pleasure and pain, gratitude and anger, without reserve, when old thoughts, habits, traditions, politics ... no longer work, and REVOLT on morbid stereotypes is a necessity.
Improvisation offers a new knowledge usually impossible under normal circumstances, freeing suppressed ideas locked up in our heads, and accepting new unconventional ones, that many miss out of fear, habit or apathy. It takes less cost and effort, yet more focus, tenacity and courage, to cease the opportunity and all its benefits.
Improvisation boosts self-confidence, by what we discover alone without others' help, and by the mere fact we ignored our fears to improvise and follow an idea/feeling/action to the end. We become no more afraid of others or ourselves.
Meanwhile, others trust us more, for feeling and trying what we do and say first, preferring a more honest spontaneous speaker/leader/artist/comedian ... to an artificial one too good/organized to be true. They feel more pleased and grateful for letting them watch/share a "live experiment" we perform before them, that none of us knows the outcome of.
It gives us pleasure, while we freely break and reshuffle rules, traveling down the mind's endless lanes, and expressing whatever ideas without reserveabsurd, vague, complex, or incomplete, reflecting the intriguing nature of life itself, whose mysteries we may later understand by better tools.
It makes understanding, and life easier, preparing the mind for the more difficult concepts and situations we are yet to face, when the memories of our free spontaneous actions later become our best guide. We cannot trust rules or take orders we don't experiment and familiarize with first.
Improvisation is vital for survival in unexpected difficult circumstances, if applying old strategies is insufficient or useless. It fits and depends on chance, which is good when we have no choice, time or guide, as its momentary power generates new thoughts and actions on the spot. It's a risk worth taking when we risk life to save life. (Improvisation is like driving with one hand, having the benefit of doing some things with the "free hand" yet the risk of losing control over the busy one, and everything else. The wheel is our life, the busy hand is our mind, and the free hand is our survival instinct experimenting with our unused potential and hidden abilities.)
However, we can minimize unwanted results during risk; first, by in-advance preparation and data-gathering; second, by enjoying the very risk we take. Risk-taking triggers rewarding endorphins in our body. (It's exciting, even if you end up dead. So enjoy it while you are alive until further notice, that you may not live to notice.) When we don't have knowledge, the navigator by our side giving us the directions, our sole guide to happiness then is instinct: our life-loving, yet short-sighted animal nature. We let senses replace thoughts, and the animal in us replace the human. It's the perfect time to remember the saying: "When you do something wrong, do it right." Follow your heart then, and improvise as much as you please ... at your expense!
Improvisation can cause irresponsibility, used as a pretext to justify one's idleness, procrastination or anarchy, like a lazy student/worker/contestant postponing today's work for tomorrow, assuming improvisation will be enough then. Or an artist/poet solely relying on inspiration with no artistic knowledge or rules. Or an anarchist believing that lawlessness is a law itself.
However important experimentation is, it is still limited, in the new knowledge and change it offers. We cannot discover the world while improvising; absorbing a good book can be more useful and enlightening than a thrilling experiment. We cannot bring real change by mere improvisation, whose effect is temporary, requiring other elements to sustain such change: planning, cooperation, perseverance, etc.
Every experiment has its own cost, time limit, ingredients, results, and rules it must follow. Otherwise, when we fully rely on improvisation, we sacrifice all the knowledge we've grown in life before that moment, the price of which is unpredicted, as one can LOSE CONTROL, and accordingly coherence, meaning, purpose, energy, time, resources, fairness, safety, honesty, and respect. Nothing is more dangerous than losing one's self-control.
Improvisation can be deceptive, by the seeming spontaneity it has, which is not an indicator of honesty or originality. It only reflects the intelligence, experience, and diligence of the speaker who may work in advance of the moment of truth. Everything we say or do is the result of what had been practiced by our minds, minutes, years, or millennia before, that became inherent in our thinking; conscious of it or not, directing or directed by us, it finally leads to our "seemingly" spontaneous acts.
No polygraph/brain scan/voice stress analysis/etc. in any context whatsoever can guarantee someone's "sincerity," in a courtroom/interview/exam/prayer time/bed time/party time/etc. Everyone is free to lie, and lies are free of charge, to tell or believe. Their consequences only show afterwards, as sociologists warn us, when honesty, the foundation of society, is shaken, and lying gains ground. Let us hope future scientists will find a cure for the latter.
Improvisation is disruptive to any system's order, like a sudden jolt that takes time to settle. To counterbalance this, in-advance planning is never harmful. There is time for plans and time for actions. Our entire life can be planned for: its duties and pleasures, work and leisure, etc. EVERY moment in life is worth preparation, even that when we seem most spontaneous: while enjoying simple pleasures; doing a mechanic routine job; following our heart/instinct/guts or habits; following the herd or other people's plots and orders; or following our own fate without trying to change it.
Improvisation is needed in some fields and settings more than others:
Improvisation in art (music, drama, comedy, oratory) is particularly needed by artists, who naturally seek more freedom of expression, unrestrained by social norms and intellectual stereotypes, many of which become so by force of habit not merit, thus need to be changed and experimented with. An artist has more pressure inside that needs release first, then refinement, elaboration and understanding later, if needed. Improvisations are usually simple in structure, vague in meaning, reflecting the regular flow of the artist's emotions.
Improvisation is favored in live performances, where the audience expect more spontaneity from the artist they came to see "in person." They feel particularly flattered and warmed by the "improvised parts." Some feel so even by a "fake" improvisation, that is still neat and strange in structure, loving to believe what they hear is improvised, even when it's not, being repeated in previous performances with previous audiences: the same jokes retold, music sequences replayed, etc. Some accept it as a sweet harmless lie; but some don't, disliking arts done for showiness' sake, expressing false emotions, or supporting a poor/mediocre artist, as in some gypsy and street arts.
The more physical an art is, the more improvisation it needs, because we cannot control our physical senses directly as we do our thoughts. All involuntary muscles affecting the senses need to perform with pleasure as the main guide, like other body functions we can't give orders to. For example, improvisation in singing is better and "healthy" for the voice and vocal organs, and in dancing for the muscles, etc. as everyone has different abilities, needs and moods.
Improvisation in education is needed at certain learning stages: brainstorming, exemplification, experimentation, etc. It makes learning a pleasure, gives students self-confidence, and makes subsequent learning stages easier. This is esp. favored by audiovisual and social learners, who think better by hearing and visualizing their thoughts, and grow more motivated by seeing others' reaction to what they improvise.
However, traditional oral learning , where improvisation is most common, is only partly useful. The total sum of data acquired through conversations is mostly "poor knowledge," as higher brain functions unfortunately slow down by instinct's interruption, e.g. animal babbling. Conversation is a less efficient learning tool, compared to the other sources of knowledge with superior quality and quantity, in single and collective learning, saving the time wasted on learning at the wrong place with the wrong people, or sometimes at any place with any people (since knowledge is a "free spirit", unchained by attachment, suppression, boundaries or any other fetter: spatial, temporal, social, or personal).
Seminars, symposiums, debates, discussions, book clubs are mere stimulants (not actual sources of knowledge) where we enjoy mixing our animal social urges with some useful activity, having fun during the tedious act of learning. We instinctively keep moving, fidgeting, and talking, failing to stay still, silent or alone in one place, where we could've searched for knowledge for itself by ourselves. The animal in us grows bored quickly.
Improvisation in science is an intrinsic part of any experiment, without which no empirical knowledge is complete or possible. It is to experiment with no/less temporal, physical and mental restrictions. It's not against logic, as logic itself requires admitting one's ignorance about many things until tried first. Some enthusiasts claim "improvisation has a logic of its own."
Many a great discovery, invention, heroic action, or just wise saying was a mere unintentional "byproduct" of something else.
Still, it's better to measure the cost and risk of any experiment in advance, record all the details during the experiment, and thoroughly analyze its findings afterwards. A self-made improvised scientific material could be unique, economical and convenient, yet it may still need more accuracy, efficiency, safety, and other requirements for optimal benefit.
Improvisation in everyday life is needed for expressing emotions; facing unexpected problems; proving honesty, eligibility, dexterity, etc.
However, before following intuition, one should BELIEVE in what they do, for a safe enjoyable fruitful improvisation experience. Socially, the presence of others instinctively and temporarily motivates us to do more, to please them or avoid their criticism, even when neither their chide nor praise affects us. Personally, one's own urges, tastes, memories, etc. are similarly misleading if not reasoned with before, however great and rich sources of improvisation they are.