John Morreall, a professor at the College of William and Mary, is the founder of Humorworks, a consulting firm for companies such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, IBM and Time Warner. He has written four books on humor and is working on a new one titled "Funny Business" with New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff.
You say that humor increases productivity, reduces conflict, and fosters change. Is this a joke?
Humor is healthy, especially the way it reduces stress. Humor is the opposite of fight-or-flight emotions -- especially fear and anger. I can't be laughing with you and angry or afraid of you at the same time.
How does it encourage creativity?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.