Thursday, November 15, 2007

Include a Joker in Every Brainstorming Session

The link between humor and innovation, why authoritarian bosses fear humor, and the funniest CEO in America. The Fast Company Interview: John Morreall.

Humor makes us think more flexibly. People who think funny do better on creativity studies. To put it really simply, humor loosens up your brain to think of more possibilities and be more open to the wild and wacky ones.

There is a guy at the State University of New York at Buffalo named Roger Firestien who has a center for the study of creativity. When he teaches brainstorming, he says you should put a joker in the group -- somebody who will come up with preposterous ideas. Very often that will stimulate people to come up with ideas that will work.

Let me give you an example. A bunch of paint engineers were moaning and bitching about how hard it is to get paint off a house. One guy says, "Why don't we just put gunpowder in the paint and blow it off the house?" That led people to think, "What could we do that would be the equivalent of gunpowder?" They came up with a chemical they added to the paint and when you wanted to remove the paint you did a light wash with a second chemical over the first one. That didn't blow it off the house, but it allowed it to drop off.

It's funny how the use of humor as a mechanism for problem solving is alot like life. Some people just "get it' and other people just don't.

Remember these words to live by: He who laughs, lasts.

Read the rest: John Morreall FC Interview.

That's Right,


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