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  • Writer's pictureJosh Rudder

The Office of Make-Believe

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

One woman show, Rachel Hansen, makes her podcasting debut! Rachel, with the team, brainstormed a new idea for a future study. The success rate of a video with the TikTok logo vs a video without. Perhaps a future podcast episode? Rachel started off her podcasting career strong!

Westin poses a scenario: a conglomerate of rich people are assembling a team. They are privy to knowledge that has not been released to the public. Honey is no longer produced because bees have gone extinct after a natural catastrophe. Scientists have altered the genetic makeup of wasps and they will produce a new type of honey. Not the same as our honey but similar. This conglomerate needs help to implement this movement and needs an elite marketing team. What are the challenges involved in overcoming stigmas about wasps?

-Dustin: change the name of the wasp, perhaps Honeyjacket

-Rachel: the human connection of showing people trying this new honey would be contagious and create a positive stir around the newness of the product

-Westin: new advertising videos, focus on the science, with quite a bit of newness to get people excited

-Dustin: focus on the naturalness of it, avoid the science of creating a new species in a lab

-Dustin: partner with an existing honey brand to make it an easier step for consumers

Shaduf takes make-believe in the workplace seriously! Dustin and Westin implemented Dungeons and Dragons into the office as a team building activity. It began as a fun team exercise to get the creative juices flowing and to insert new ways of thinking. We continue this exercise with our team every Friday! But honestly, are there benefits to make-believing in the workplace? Should we not be doing something more productive?

Now let's get down to the study!

We put our online participants into two groups. The first group went through a non make-believing exercise and the other group went through a make-believing exercise. Those that did not make-believe were asked to do the following:

  • Describe the first thing you saw the last time you walked out of your house.

  • Describe the characteristics of the group you last interacted with and finally.

  • Describe the last problem you helped solve.

These are all things that have occurred and are tied to real life. Absolutely no make-belief involved.

In contrast those that were assigned to the make-believe group were asked very similar questions with a very big twist.

  • Imagine you walk through a magical portal into another realm; as you walk through the portal what is the first thing you see?

  • Imagine that as you wander through this realm you meet the inhabitants; describe the characteristics of these inhabitants.

  • You are experiencing a major catastrophe that only you can help solve; what is this catastrophe?

The situations presented to both groups have correlation to each other but definitely provide contrast to show how different the minds of the two groups work.

We had so much fun analyzing the answers to this study. Here are some of our favorites: “Opening my eyes the first thing I notice is how vivid and bright the colors seem. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” “The creatures here seem to be wary of my presence but through the trees I’ll catch a furry tail here and there. Bright colors seem to cover their thick fur, they walk on four legs or two. They are not human nor do they seem like any animal I have ever encountered.” ”This realm is plagued like any other place, with evil souls who enjoy causing pain and destroying beauty.” Both groups of people were taken from prolific academic, an online survey taking website where random people are paid to take surveys.

In the next stage both groups are given the same scenario, they are shown a picture of a hammock and asked to describe the Facebook advertisement that they would create. After analyzing the data we found two schools of thought: concrete thinking and abstract thinking. Concrete thinking is concerned with the how and the details while abstract thinking is more concerned about the why or the end state. What we know from prior research is that abstract thinking is tied to creativity. We found in the data that those that made-believe before receiving the marketing scenario had more abstract thoughts towards the scenario.

If you are looking to boost creativity in your company, find ways to play Dungeons and Dragons. Or try to find a way to make-believe.

From two randomized groups we found that we can potentially help people achieve a creative mindset to have more abstract thoughts. Business does not always need to be concrete or abstract, it depends on your service or product. If you are looking to boost creativity in your company, find ways to play Dungeons and Dragons. Or try to find a way to make-believe, start to break the stigma and play a little, be an abstract thinker.

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