Mike Bonifer

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Mike Bonifer (b. 1953-12-31 in Jasper, Indiana) is an American writer, director, educator and Chief Creative Officer of bigSTORY.


Mike Bonifer is the co-founder of GameChangers, LLC, and the author of GameChangers--Improvisation for Business in the Networked World. His work introduces the principles of improvisation to business practices and strategies, and focuses, in particular, on the improvised brand narrative, and the concept that, in a highly matrixed communications environment, brand narratives cannot be scripted, they must be improvised in collaboration with the brand's audience (i.e. its stakeholders and customers).

In February 2010, he introduced the concept of the 'quantum narrative' to his work. This concept, which combines the symbolism of quantum mechanics as described by Fritjof Capra and the mythic archetypes defined by Jung and Campbell, posits the existence of quantum narratives that are the basis of all collaboration between brands and audiences. Quantum narratives, according to Bonifer, contain the 'energy' from which brands generate 'Newtonian narratives,' more commonly referred to as stories. It is the probability of generating 'positive Newtonian narratives' on a quantum scale, and capturing value generated by them, in forms such as rents, loyalty, innovation, critical feedback and social activism, that determine the wealth generated by the brand, for both its stakeholders and for society, over time.

Born on December 31, 1953, in Jasper, Indiana, Bonifer grew up on a farm near Ireland, Indiana, the oldest of six children of Bob and Fern (Henke) Bonifer. He attended St. Mary's grade school in Ireland, and graduated in 1971 from Jasper High School, where he participated with distinction in basketball and band, and was the recipient of the school's top scholar-athlete award. He attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1975 with a degree in Business and Philosophy. After a short stint with Procter & Gamble Bonifer began writing professionally. In 1977, he co-wrote (with L. G. Weaver) Out of Bounds -- An Anecdotal History of Notre Dame Football.

In 1980, Bonifer began working for Walt Disney Studios where he was the publicist for the motion picture, TRON. He was a founding producer for The Disney Channel, where he produced and directed the award-winning series, Disney Family Album He was the first producer ever to use Betacam video format in a television series (Disney Family Album, 1982), and the first to shoot Betacam video underwater (Splash, 1984). With Disney art director Paul Wenzel, he created the packaging for Disney Home Videos, produced Disney's first web sites for motion pictures beginning with Toy Story in 1994, and wrote books on the making of the studio's films TRON and Dick Tracy.

In 1993, he co-wrote (again with L. G. Weaver) and directed the feature film, The Lipstick Camera for Triboro Pictures and Sibling Entertainment.

From 1997-2001, Bonifer served as the senior Creative executive for several dotcom-era internet companies, including BoxTop Interactive and iXL, where he oversaw the creative direction and content of early web sites for a prestigious list of clients, including Disney and the Smithsonian. In 2001-2002, he served as the Vice-President of Creative for Vidyah Productions, an online video streaming company.

In 2004, with Kevin Wall and David Asarnow, Bonifer co-founded the online entertainment company Network LIVE, a producer of the Live 8 concerts, and a forerunner to Control Room, the company that produced Live Earth. In 2006 and 2007, he served as Chief Storyteller for Live Earth - Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.

In 2006, with Dr. Virginia Kuhn, Associate Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California, he founded the business education company, GameChangers, LLC, which offers a curriculum based on improvisation techniques described in his book,GameChangers -- Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, published in January, 2008.

Mike Bonifer is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer for bigSTORY, the first company in the world to practice quantum storytelling, an emerging science that accounts for how stories are created, live in networks and influence behaviors.

He is the author of GameChangers: Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, and the creator of the ERGO game system for business productivity. He has conducted improvisation training for companies around the world, and at universities such as USC, Notre Dame and NYU.

Mike Bonifer and his son, Alex, perform regularly as BonBon, the only known father-son improv act in history.