Laughter is the best medicine – numerous studies have linked it to improved health, sense of well-being, and performance, among many other benefits. It has also been renowned for its positive effects on sustained concentration and enhancement of the learning process itself, as well as information retention. Its prevalence is unquestionable – it forms part of the universal language of emotions that can break almost all communication and linguistic barriers. It comes as no surprise then that laughter has become the most highly regarded almost-cure-all, especially for those of us looking for some creative stimulation.

Scientists now distinguish between spontaneous, simulated, and stimulated laughter, and use all three to prevent the onset of mental illnesses, and to treat per-existing mental conditions. It is contagious, it feels great, and it is good for our health? Sign us up!

Recommended reading: Creative Conflicts in Group Projects? Use These 5 Principles to Navigate Them

How Can You Use Laughter to Spark Your Team’s Creativity?

The specifics of how laughter, in conjunction with other habits like spending time outdoors, engaging in different hobbies, and giving oneself a change of scenery, positively influences our creativity is, at the time of writing, still a mystery to science. What we do know is that there is a positive correlation between laughter and humor, i.e., an improved mood, and creativity. In short, humor and laughter stimulate the same brain regions that light up when we engage in creative activities and thinking. People that laugh a lot and have developed a wicked sense of humor tend to perform much better on creative tasks and exhibit higher levels of creative output overall.

By that maxim, doing what makes you laugh, and brainstorming are two sides of the same funny coin. Our suggestion? Put humor at the forefront of your team’s creative horizon. Let’s be honest here – business environments are a tad uninspiring by design. The good news is you have plenty of room to spice things up – so use it. Try the following:

Sharing Jokes and Funny Stories in Team Meetings

As a creative team leader, the environment you want to see created is the one you help to create. Humor and laughter are, paradoxically, things that people tread on with caution. Some even treat them like some sort of business taboo. Lead by example here – crack a joke and share something funny that has happened to you in a lighthearted way. Show your team that you welcome, encourage, and appreciate a good sense of humor.

Share Your Favorite Comedy Series, Films, and Books

This is an excellent way for you and your team to discover shared interests. Research has shown that people create some of their strongest bonds with each other when they explore and discuss the things they have in common. Put differently, we tend to like people that are like us. And while there are as many tastes in entertainment as there are people, your team members will have a wonderful time getting to know each other’s sense of humor, nonetheless.

Clearly Communicate What Is Not Considered Funny

One man’s joke is another man’s insult. For all its benefits, humor can sometimes be tricky to externalize. People differ in what they find funny, how they convey their humor, when they like to joke around and when they take things seriously – you get the idea. While it is paramount that you cultivate an open, humor-inclusive culture within your team, it is equally important that you set clear boundaries on what is accepted and what is not.

A good rule of thumb here is to ban joking over sensitive topics like sex, religion, health, stereotypes, and politics.

Creative Stimulation: Three Activities Creative Teams Must Try

Is fun being had? If so, then congratulations! You have successfully put in all the groundwork needed to create a work environment that promotes laughter, humor, and creativity. With your team enjoying themselves, the creative juices are sure to be amply flowing. Now’s the perfect time to start reaping what you have sown. Here are three activities we think can help you harvest all that creative energy:

1. Play Fun Brainstorming Games

The Idea: Similar to joining a brainstorming session, getting your team to play an idea-generating game brings joy and results. One of our favorites is Shark Tank, inspired by the TV series of the same name. The purpose of the game is to get others as excited about your idea as you are.

Why It Works: By slightly tweaking the scope of such games to revolve around business goals, you get your team members to engage in conceptual thinking – a type of creative stimulation exercise where participants take their ideas-in-the-rough and fully develop them into sharp, shiny diamonds. To succeed in such a premise, your creative team will have to come up with relevant research, arguments, presentations, models, diagrams, and timelines. Essentially, they will be handing you entire creative concepts ready for execution.

2. Make Fun of What You Want to Change

The Idea: So, if you are looking for a new look for your website, some fresh content ideas, or a different audience to target, make fun of the current ones.

  1. Put a document together with all the elements you wish to challenge and change
  2. Ask your team to provide constructive and humorous criticism
  3. Voila! You got what you came for

Why It Works: This is all about getting your team to enter a permission mindset. Doing so can help eliminate or minimize confidence gaps. Change is scary and it feels daunting – and so does challenging the status quo. The more we take something seriously, the more far-removed it feels. And that is when we tend to leave it untouched, unbothered, unquestioned. The desired outcome here is to reverse that mindset and dare to think about viable solutions.

3. Entertain ‘What-If’ Scenarios

The Idea: Gather your team and present them with keywords that tie back to the parts of the business you need addressed. Instruct them to imagine themselves at home, on holiday, or in any setting that allows for total relaxation, really. Then, ask them to come up with three ‘out-there’ scenarios that they must write down and expand on.

Why It Works: Imagine if… We dared to imagine! This is a textbook brainstorming activity that helps unleash creative thinking through brave daydreaming. Quite frequently, the biggest block to one’s creative path is the mental restrictions they place on themselves. Activities like this one are designed to break through such mental blocks and let all that creative air flow.

Final Thoughts on Laughter, Humor, and Creative Stimulation

The most progressive and forward-thinking global businesses are rapidly moving in a direction where debunking creativity and encouraging business practices that stimulate it best are necessary. We are now beginning to realize that what was once considered taboo is, in all actuality, the key to spearheading business success and excellence. Simply put, those that embrace humor first will have the last laugh.

The Creative Management Series

Explore our extensive series on creative leadership and creative management to prepare yourself for every challenge ahead:

Do you want to give yourself and your team more room for creative stimulation by automating the boring stuff? Lytho helps you streamline your entire workflow and harmonize all brand collateral under a single, uniform platform. Feel free to reach out to us by scheduling a demo and learning how our creative solutions can boost the effectiveness of your creative projects. We look forward to speaking with you!

Do you want to give yourself and your creative team more room for creative stimulation by automating the boring stuff? Lytho helps you streamline your entire workflow and harmonize all brand collateral under a single, uniform platform. Feel free to reach out to us by scheduling a demo and learning how our creative solutions can boost the effectiveness of your creative projects. We look forward to speaking with you!

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