If you want your department to be creative then make it a great place to have fun. Humor, playfulness and laughter go along with creativity.
Innovation is a serious business but being serious does not help you get started. Humor involves challenging conventions, poking fun at taboos and coming up with the unexpected. For these reasons it is a natural companion for creativity.
Ask people how we could make the office more of a fun place to work and implement some of the best ideas.
Here are some things you could try:
Hold a fancy dress party – try themes like; bad taste, loudest outfit, film stars, champions, animals etc. Be wild but take care not to offend.
Get volunteers to tell jokes at the start of a meeting.
Have plenty of toys and creative materials like play dough and legos.
Have games for break times – table football, pinball, darts etc.
Run icebreaker games and activities at the beginning and during meetings.
Go to an art shop and buy some artists’ materials. Have an art workshop where people draw or sculpt for fun.
Run an improv workshop where people are encouraged to try improvised comedy. It is great for breaking down inhibitions and for getting people out of their comfort zones.
When you run events where staff are encouraged to be silly or make fools of themselves it is best if the boss and other senior executives take the lead. By making fun of themselves they help break down barriers, debunk the hierarchy and empower others to be freethinking.
Google’s mission statement claims that ‘even the best technology can be improved’ and ‘innovation is in our bloodline’. The company encourages staff to spend 20% of their time on ‘fun personal projects’, an approach that has led to major innovations such as Google Earth, Froogle and Gmail.
Many of the best creativity exercises are accompanied by laughter and hilarity as they encourage people to be bizarre. As they chortle and become more playful people are more likely to come up with creative, unorthodox and radical solutions.