Science says fun
works too.

Yes, fun and humor help unlock better ideas, faster. It’s not just us saying that. People much smarter than us are proving it. 

  • Research increasingly indicates that positive emotional states (joy, humor, laughter) are associated with higher creative output. 
  • Our Funworkshops incorporate the latest research so that together we can unlock better ideas faster. 

  • Advances in neuroimaging, cognitive psychology, and creativity studies provide us an understanding of what types of environments and brain states will most likely elicit novel insights.

Funworkshops: Yay! 
Brainstorms: Meh.

At Funworks we use recommendations made by scholars such as Keith Sawyer (author of Group Genius and Creativity Researcher at UNC) to set the stage for creative collaboration, a state of “group flow”. 

A great deal of research suggests that group brainstorming done in typical fashion (made popular by Alex Osborn) is not the best method for original solutions and ideas.

The Scientific Ingredients:

  • Gather a cognitively diverse group of people, blending industry experts with novices
  • The room is stocked with talented improv and sketch artists who have years of training using the “yes… and” approach to building ideas, and who establish a fast-paced, risk-friendly environment to elicit original ideas

  • An expert facilitator guides the session

  • A graphic recorder captures the many ideas with images, so that the group can continue producing, yet go back and to connect and recall about earlier ideas later on
  • Creativity requires divergent thinking, so we combine disparate ingredients to form new ideas

Humor and fun have
many children.
Their names are

Humor advances ideation and
divergent thinking.

  • Humor encourages us to not take things so seriously, which supports cognitive flexibility — an attribute found in creative individuals; 

  • According to the incongruity theory, humor violates expectations, which causes us to question conventional views

  • Associative cognition, ignited by humorous improv exercises, is a brain process which some theorists suggest is the source of all human creativity. 


Having fun advances ideation
in important ways too.

  • Having fun increases our ability to access the relaxed brain state that has been shown by neuroscience researchers (notably Mark Beeman and Charles Limb) to boost moments of insight; 

  • Fun keeps us engaged in the ideation, so that we can get past our first set of ideas (often commonplace solutions), and travel into the deeper stages of ideation. This is where less common and truly unique ideas tend to surface. 

Lab Notes

Here are links to people we respect discussing
the science of fun. 



Runco, Mark A. (2014, 2007). Creativity: Theories and Themes:  
        Research, Development and Practice. Academic Press,  Elsevier Inc. 

Sawyer, R. Keith (2011-12-05). Explaining Creativity: The Science of
         Human Innovation. Oxford University Press.