Unserious

Creative Detours: Embracing Messiness and Play with Mary Michael Pringle

November 16, 2023 J.B. Skelton and Molly McMahon Season 1 Episode 3
Unserious
Creative Detours: Embracing Messiness and Play with Mary Michael Pringle
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Creative processes and frameworks are often presented as neat and linear orders of operation. But looking closer, we'll find a circuitous mess of unexpected twists, turns, and detours that we hope are worth it in the end. In this episode, J.B. and Molly explore with rogue creative director Mary Michael Pringle the crucial roles of joy, play, and vulnerability for fostering creativity in the workplace. She shares her approach to creativity, from drawing on her inner child and using toys, games, and stories to spark fearlessness, to creative briefs and verbal dreaming, to creating emotional connections that truly resonate with audiences. Get ready to unleash your inner child.

"It is about returning to your younger self. The word 'make believe' is perfect, because you do have to believe in what you're making...  it's about really believing and wanting to try.  You get back to that and you've got yourself your creativity back." - Mary Michael Pringle 


0:10 Intro
2:25 Play in the workplace
5:39 Accelerating creativity and positivity
12:55 Hire, Fire, Boss!
17:05 The creative brief and brainstorming
21:45 Case study: Egypt Air
26:43 Friendships at work
30:29 Reflections and outro

Connect with Mary Michael on LinkedIn

Follow Unserious in your podcast app, at unserious.com, and on Instagram and Threads at @unserious.fun.

J.B.:

This is Unserious. Creative processes and frameworks are often presented as tidy packages, neat, linear orders of operation, but the truth of the matter is that great ideas don't follow a step-by-step process. When we covered creative operations in our conversation with Courtney Kaplan a couple weeks ago, we focused on how to organize creative work. Today, we're going to disorganize it. We're going to dive into the messy, circuitous process of how great ideas come to the surface and the key roles that play and childlike wonder have in bubbling them up. Our guide through the creative maze today is Mary Michael Pringle, a freelance creative director and copywriter who has worked with clients and partners like IDO, nextdoor Details Magazine, pinterest and so many others. She's a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the legendary advertising school Creative Circus. Not only does she create relationships and emotions in her work. More importantly, as a creative director, she enhances and accelerates the creative process on teams by being a positive and fun force. Welcome to Unserious, mary Michael. Hello, it is so awesome to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

Mary Michael:

Oh my gosh.

Molly:

Thank you for having me Unserious. We're so glad you're here, so I just you know, to get us started. I wanted to share what it's like to work with you when you joined our team at IDO. It felt like anything was possible. I remember one Friday we generated so many ideas and laughed so hard that I couldn't wait to get into the office on Monday and do it again Like the weekend. I didn't even want the weekend to come, I just wanted to be at work with you. That type of experience and that joy that we had together took our engagement initiatives to a whole other level. And I'm pretty sure we also, in this process, got shished by other studios, particularly the food studio at IDO, where we were sitting outside laughing too hard but we went on to do really creative and impactful work. I saw customers and community laugh. I saw them cry. I saw their lives change in the course of our work together. What is it about our work and environment that make it fun? What does fun look like in a work environment or feel like? Is it foosballs and pizzas?

Mary Michael:

What is it? Well, thank you, molly, that was a great project. I think we lost ourselves a little bit in a great way in that process where we were just coming up with stuff, and I think that is where you play. You know it is the sandbox or whatever Play in the workplace. I mean it can be foosball if you're getting at it, which I'm not, so that's not super fun for me. What is fun is laughing, is telling personal stories and having the space and time to riff and roll and be yourself and bring your stresses and hilarities to the day. And then those mix and mingle with the work and, before you know it, this really cool alchemy is happening, not just with you and the work and your life, but also like the people in the room, and I just think, I think you have to really set out to say we will have joy here today, you know what I mean, Like yeah, totally. I take joy and play very seriously in that sense, because I think it is like the Trojan horse to great stuff.

Molly:

Why is play the Trojan horse for great work?

Mary Michael:

Everything I do is trying to get back to my elementary school self.

J.B.:

Yeah.

Mary Michael:

So cool and free. When I was younger, I dressed up like a king for Halloween, because why wouldn't you want to be a king? They're the most powerful. I was Poncho.

Molly:

Villa for my first. Halloween. I don't really know who that is.

Mary Michael:

Is that like a, that is a Mexican revolutionary? Oh, I'm thinking of like the coffee beans, like out there One.

Molly:

Valdes, one Valdes, one Valdes.

Mary Michael:

I was actually picturing a Poncho when you said that I wore a.

Molly:

Poncho, but with fake bullets as like a foil Nice.

Mary Michael:

Revolutionary seat, I mean we would hang out. Yeah, I don't know. I just had a blast as a kid. I would do things like I had this weird closet you could get on your back and put your feet up and I thought, well, that's really cool. So my friend and I put a board game up on the feeling so that we could play it with our feet. We thought that would be really fun. Like I just feel like play is like you can take rest. There's no, you know, there's no reason not to try it. You can bring that to your brainstorming, like that energy, that fearlessness, to a creative brainstorming session and you're in a great place.

Molly:

I think that importance of risk and fearlessness is a big part of why you bring like fun and play into the workplace, because it lets you go to that next creative edge and if you're having a good time, you get to do it together Like you're you're laughing or you're you're putting yourself out of your comfort zone with someone else, and so you're also, while you're able to go to that next creative edge, you're also building these bonds within your own team because you're sharing like these really Personal aspects of who you are. You've gone beyond being like buttoned up and professional To being a little bit of your true self, that childhood self that you just talked about, which is super powerful. Fun can accelerate creativity and positivity on a team, and you do this really well. So I'm curious how do you Accelerate creativity and positivity on a team?

Mary Michael:

first of all, I do think you come in as yourself. You know, like I bring I do bring toys and things into it, like we had those story cubes one time. You know that, like I have two boys who are now 13 and 16, but I have really enjoyed parenting because, like I had this new reason to bring it all back like Legos. I have Legos all around my desk right now. We have them like on display in our home, throughout the house, like we've done stop motion with it and all this. So I will bring like props to whatever team I'm working on, you know, and I do love a great prop and I do think that they Stand for a lot. Yeah like at my desk I have from my dollhouse. When I was little it was an electric dollhouse that I got out of Sears magazine I was so excited about and you could buy little pieces to it. And this is a little light up aquarium.

J.B.:

Oh, that's amazing. Oh my gosh, I love this miniature world inside a miniature world.

Mary Michael:

You can see a little fish in there. They used to say in advertising you dig little holes, yeah, little holes. So you're like trying a lot of different little ideas around here and then you figure out the ones to go back and just really hunker down into you. You can also look at it as little rooms in a dollhouse that you kind of enter into, tinker around in, then you take your characters out and put them in another room and so you're just sort of definitely world-building, but in a very like loose, playful way.

J.B.:

I absolutely adhere to this idea of ensuring that there is joy at work. I think it's actually one of the ways that you build a great reputation for your team at a larger company that you're the team that has fun doing hard shit and and then people really want to work with you. But so much of the work that we do is very serious and, like you know, I've worked on, you know, user privacy at Facebook. Yeah, exactly, it's. There's nothing, there's nothing more serious than that at Facebook. Yeah, I'm curious how you would Bring in that element of fun to the work with very serious people on very serious topics.

Mary Michael:

That is such a great question. I would say that first you come in as your total self. Yeah, I'm also facing stuff always works for me. I will throw myself down To connect and I feel like when you get vulnerable and you tell a story or two, that kind of puts makes people laugh and it's like little self deprecating. People immediately feel connected to you and I get I know that Brené Brown talks about this a lot, but I like it total vulnerability hangovers from like brainstorms or whatever. We're trying really hard to connect up, like I way overshared Usually and I'll circle back and usually kind of repair some of the overexposure and everything. But I don't know if it's not, I think it's still worth it, yeah you know, like I do, I would say I sacrifice a lot to connect.

J.B.:

I would have a cross-functional team that I would meet with, that we would start every meeting with taught. It was like somebody would share a soup recipe and you know. And it was like you know, the other 27 minutes of the meeting were very serious, but we always started off with this very light moment and it was fun yeah.

Mary Michael:

Yeah, I was working on a pharmaceutical company that was helping create vaccinations that were saving the world. We were remote, we were all over the country and we always met on zoom and it was a six month project where we were doing pretty, you know, intensive work and our clients were, for the most part, scientists. You know, like we had to sell it through to scientists ultimately. And then they had me, who wasn't Particularly well respected by the scientists because I was an ad person, you know. I mean, like that was my background. I was like I better tidy up my LinkedIn. So at this point was like I'm just gonna have to prove it in the space, I'm just gonna have to deliver. You know, live. I think it became like we are talking to scientists. They need Rigor to have fun. They're not gonna like we are gonna lose them. Yep, you know if this isn't a rigorous environment, but once it got rigorous, they were cutting and making, yeah, playful stuff. And then they decorated an entire wall of things and somebody went off east and did like a knitting that weren't even available. You know, like created this entire Beautiful environment. They said it was so wonderful and what we were teaching them were like cultural Mindset, again through this Trojan horse, but it had to be delivered. You know, in all these particular ways that sort of address the needs of our scientist audience. And yes, they're humans but, and we all operate in some similar way, but still they were a unique breed.

Molly:

I think what I'm hearing, mary Michael and JB actually just hearing both of you guys is that creativity is solving big problems vaccines, privacy. That creativity and that fun element lets you do hard work well. Like you, you Design intentionally for joy. You bring your. You bring your full self or actually I'm not sure I love that language but you, you know that you're going to to have vulnerable moments. You have to create like a psychologically safe space For that. So you can't, so you can be vulnerable and you are gonna have a little authentic connections you have to invest, you have to give yes.

Mary Michael:

You actually have to give. You have to give and you have to expect to. Like you're gonna jump in this puddle and you're gonna splash people and yourself and get things dirty. It is messy we talked about, we thought I I think messy is a really important word. Um, I Of course the idea of phrases like embrace ambiguity, but I think, like it is, it gets so messy and scary before it gets good that you start off fun. It feels great. So, honeymoon, you're like you're just discussing things. You know. It's just like oh, I love my people in a group. I'm like crushing on everyone. Like you can come in as a freelancer especially. It's like a Magic tool to come in just fresh, as the daisy, all new thinking, you know, sort of size up the seat. You read the room and be like, okay, I'm gonna dial up my this or that. You know what I mean. Like, and I think like this group could really use some, some icebreakers, some of the icebreakers. I wasn't responsible for this one, but I will always remember and use these. They're two that are really funny to me. One that works great for your home Was this toilet paper Sculpture Idea. And you wait what? So we had to bring joy in. So we we got a stipend for joy, basically, and we started doing Icebreakers with art and sharing them on the thing and screen. We all got sent this lobster to hold our pens.

J.B.:

Oh I love.

Mary Michael:

A story about. Growth is painful and yet to outgrow your shell and lobster's you know they shed their shells as they grow and it's painful to grow this painful and you know you have to keep. So this lobster was one of the stories that we've gotten during our project and during the process, and so this was sent out and then Wait, wait, wait, so lobsters actually grow a new shell.

Molly:

This is new information to me. Wisdom bombs by Mary Michael.

J.B.:

Back with more in just a moment I.

Molly:

Mary Michael, I know you know, I know you love a good game. Oh, I love a good game. So the game is Higher, fire boss. Higher is somebody that you would hire to work fire. So, yeah, fire is somebody that you would let go and boss is somebody who you, you would work for. So we're gonna start with fashion icons, and these are.

J.B.:

These are the fashion icons I select these are yeah, I want, I want to be clear. These are, these are Molly's.

Molly:

Okay, so those fashion icons are Cindy Crawford, grace Jones and Stevie Nicks.

J.B.:

Where? How did Stevie Nicks get onto this list?

Molly:

She's a fashion icon. She's the ultimate witchy woo gypsy queen.

J.B.:

I guess so all right.

Mary Michael:

I mean Grace Jones is obviously boss and I would hire Stevie Nicks. She's not gonna want to work under me. And Cindy, I mean I'm sorry but it's really it's very clear to me. I mean I, I would probably. I Mean there's a part of me that would want to move Stevie as boss. But I just think, grace, I can't imagine her working under anyone, truly, and so that's kind of her stick as dominatrix. Dominatrix, and Stevie is gonna be a little bit unwieldy.

J.B.:

Oh, stevie's a fire. Stevie's a fire for me, and all over me.

Mary Michael:

So I, I'm a fire, stevie, I can't okay, I'm a huge Stevie Nicks fan, so, even as witchy and weird as I love it. All um so. But we also. But, molly, also, you are a Stevie Nicks fan too, I think right.

Molly:

Oh, I definitely want to work with Stevie Nicks. I want to put on the scarves and twirl around on stage and maybe light some candles and you know, manifest shit, I mean.

Mary Michael:

I've dressed up as Stevie for Halloween and I don't look like I heard all. Nobody knew what I was doing. I had a crushed velvet dress from the canal district in New York City. I had my tambourine, I have my Nass, like it was like a long but nobody in Atlanta Georgia knew who I was and I had had it from New York, cuz I always, and they, just like this party, called nine of a thousand TVs that everybody dresses.

J.B.:

Yeah, of course annual party.

Mary Michael:

Yeah, I always wanted to go to that but I haven't. And I have a. I have a photograph a David Lushapal photograph and details magazine from the 90s frames in my hallway of Stevie Nicks. She's like kind of like I Don't know floating in the air yeah being struck by lightning. Okay.

J.B.:

I don't think Stevie can be tamed and I don't think that she would be a good employee. She's gonna be, she's gonna be in her vortex in Sedona like chanting and it's fine, I'm I. I also I want Stevie to be Stevie, but if I'm gonna get shit done, cindy is gonna be my employee and obviously Grace is the boss.

Molly:

I mean Cindy. Cindy is ambitious, she's gonna like execute, that's right I have.

J.B.:

yeah, no doubt she works hard in earnest.

Mary Michael:

Who are your choices?

Molly:

Molly, oh, I, I think I was letting go Grace Drake, grace Jones, because no one can manage Grace. She's doing her own thing. She's like I got my own business happening. I know and I'm not gonna fit into this oppressive system of corporate world. I'm out.

J.B.:

She's like you're traveling to Saturn tomorrow.

Molly:

Yeah, she's not. She's not, she's not staying in the corporate space. I think, steve, I would, I, so I definitely. I think we're all working for Cindy Crawford. We may already all be working for Cindy Crawford in the fashion space and, I think, stevie next man. I just want to like snuggle in with her and be pals, so let's work together, okay, uh-huh, for sure.

Mary Michael:

All right, what fun. That was a great exercise. This might work for detouring, and why I think it's so great I had I have deemed it verbal daydreaming. I think it's really cool if you can allow for that, but you definitely need the boundaries and guardrails of a sandbox, and so that is where the creative brief comes in. Yeah, the process doesn't necessarily kick off with a creative brief, and so a lot of research will be done up front. It's a lot of looking at, looking in and advertising. It's a planner or slash strategist Yep Goes out and does basically ethnography, like going into homes, talking to clients, customers, everything trying to understand stuff, and then you put together insight. So you have your insight, you have your objective and you put all these things on just a one pager and those are the boundaries of your sandbox and you push down into what is the one single thing, the single-minded promise that you want to make, and it's got to be one thing. It's usually like we make your teeth white and your breath fresh. No, that's two, that's one sentence, or like two Conductions. So what's the one thing? So you get it down and it's so hard and you have to let go of things, so what's the one thing you want to talk about? And then what's the one sort of human truth that it's based off of? And then you got your tone, you got your audience. All these things. That's just one page. Now you're in your sandbox, right? Yeah, I mean, you've got to set timers, you've got to do all kinds of things, but in between the box and in between what other guardrails you're in, you can go anywhere, and I always say this I think everybody would say this too that the more constrained and confined you are, the more freeing it is creatively. Yeah, totally, you can only talk about this. So now we don't have to worry about we can't shoot this in Fiji, we can't hire Madonna or whatever we know. We can't do these things. Budget is often also on that page.

J.B.:

And mandatory.

Mary Michael:

So I mean, a great creative brief is the essential, and sometimes you have to write another one that works for you. One comes from the client, then one comes through the strategist, then one comes to the creative, and the creative takes it and goes OK, now I'm going to do the widest toothpaste, because maybe in the zeitgeist everyone's drinking super strong coffee now in what they're never used to. So now our teeth are darker, we need it more. So you just lean into these sort of spirit of the times kind of things, right, so super fun once you nail this shit down.

Molly:

One thing that I'm hearing from you, Mary Michael, about how to go from detours and a lot of divergent thinking and that fun space, how you narrow it down. One you start off with an awesome creative brief and know really clear about what your goals are. Your second thing that I'm hearing is it's really grounded in human-centered insights who your consumers are and what they're feeling, and that's the evidence to know if you're heading in the right direction or not. To help, like found you in. And then you also mentioned like timers, like you time bound stuff.

Mary Michael:

OK, so I think like two hour brainstorms are like max, you know, like I just don't think people can go beyond that. You're probably pushing it anyway, but you're having many detours in this two hour period. It is not giving me another idea. Great, another one. Let me build on that it's. I mean, in there you're going to have a conversation about how sad you are that your brother isn't talking to you right now. Another conversation about, like totally, your marriage, yeah, or your breakup, or your recipe. Your colorist is just not showing up like they used to. I mean, it's going to be really high, low, heavy, nothing stuff. And I know for sure this is why I love advertising, because it is like I get paid to just have conversations with people all the time and then talk about behavior of other people and then try to like kind of. I don't like the idea of like controlling behavior, because I really respect the audience that I am talking to. Like I was raised in the ad world to be like you are interrupting someone's program, yeah, yeah. Like you better make it interesting. Like basically, like it was the hey Whipple squeeze this like Luke Sullivan world, and it was like you do not talk down to your audience. You bring them in. You create enough of an interest, like you engage them, and to such a degree that you go 75% of the ad makes sense. The engagement comes from the participant. The consumer has to finish the extra 25% to get a dopamine hit. Yeah, and now you've got them. Do you know what I mean? So it's like this is not you do not give them everything, because you show them that you believe that they are smart with you. One of the things that I learned to do in ad school, you know you'd have to come up with ideas every day for every class and it was like two years straight, constant. You know, here's a brief, here's a project. It was like the harder two years of my life presenting and just getting shot down like all the time, just fixed in school, basically fixed in school, building a school. You know I would do this thing where I would you know when you're in the car, when you're in the shower, when you're just falling asleep or just waking up, you have this lucid, semi lucid state, right. So I would set my timer because I would fall asleep and I would lay down and I would have my pad next to me. I just feel like, okay, you have like 30 minutes for all. Like, you better come up with something. And I remember and you just do, you, you can. You're, because of the constraints, because of this timed boundary, you can totally allow yourself to fall asleep, like I'm not worried, right? Yeah, and that to me is like is kind of a formula this is this play thing, right, it's like safe, but you are free falling, yeah, yeah, just proving that this worked. There was this. I was. There was a project for Egypt Air and we were having to like design a new livery which is like the paint for it. Come up with an ad for the New York times, one of those one pager ads, and then a poster or something like that, a couple of posters. I just I can't remember, but I remember thinking, okay, we have to do a new, it's going to be a brand new airplane. Like we had to design a new airplane and I was like, oh so when it flies over Egypt, the Sphinx will be so psyched that it's brand new that he'll look up. You know, like, yeah, and we've been taught like don't show everything, right, just make sure that. So the ad was just a black and white shot of the Sphinx with his head up and there's nothing in the sky, you know, like it was just empty sky and then down the bottom, just tiny. Is that introducing the new, like the new paint job or something of Easy to dare you know? Like just super subtle and then out? it's clever and it's really clever and then we ended up with it, then we ended up with a campaign. I think that, because now we're tweaking monuments, yeah, like, oh, then it just spills out of that, right? So it's like the sort of monuments of like things, like characters who are seated next to each other. They look like they're in a row together. So we put seatbelts on them and then we did like it's like Ramesses. Yes, thank you. The Ramesses, yes, our line is like Go to Egypt, the oldest, newest Place in the world, or something like that, and we showed that like in between, we made, we did. We had the designer made like a wall of Styrofoam and then cut into it real hieroglyphics, and then we would do like a Like a roller blade, or then a cocktail glass or like some modern thing. Anyway, these are not super great ideas. It was cute but it like, but we like one, the Gold of the show that year. Do you know what I mean? I was just thinking like what, what a cool Like from I have Jack, all I am gonna go to class and die and then, alright, just lie down. Just, you know, like brainstorming and meetings to me, where they're dynamic and you go home with hope and you Seek joy, are like like like scavenger how they're hunt, like what are we gonna come out of this meeting with? Like Something. We have nothing right now, but we could have something and it is really a thrill like and it and I will say it not always Work, but like it's worth trying.

J.B.:

It's. It feels like every time that we put together a larger creative team. So like one or two people just say, like I am not Creative. How do you combat that thinking? Because I think as a human, you are creative. It is a biological, neurological fact, so how do you convince these people that they have it within them?

Mary Michael:

I guess I would just say, I would just reflect back that like it is about returning to your younger self, the word like make believe is like perfect, because you do have to believe yeah, right, yeah in what you're making and it just goes back to play right.

J.B.:

So I just think it's about just really believing and and wanting to try you said something earlier about daydreaming out loud and it reminded me of you know, if you've ever been on a road trip with like an eight or nine year old in the back of the car. They are just narrating their thoughts and it's like, and it's wonderful, and it's like it's fabulous, it's like it's the most interesting thing that you've ever heard, because it's so how can we get? Back to that exactly.

Mary Michael:

You get back to that and you've got. You've got yourself your creativity back. Yeah.

J.B.:

More unserious with creative director Mary Michael Pringle.

Mary Michael:

After this short break, I Remember my I would say to my husband like and this is not to say that he doesn't have a great time or a great life or anything, but I would say how is your day? And he would be like it's. It was really productive. And I'd be like I've never measured my day that way. I was like was my day fun or not? You know, yeah, assumed it was productive, but it was really a measure of like was it interesting, was it fun? Did we do things I didn't expect? You know? Like, did I have a conversation that blew my mind? I think Re-framing your day like that can be very powerful and very productive.

J.B.:

It sounds a lot like work as Friendship.

Mary Michael:

Oh, holy cow, that is it. That is the point for me. I think that my hobby is people and I think I collect relationships and friendships and because I'm a freelancer, I am like a serial friendship maker and relationship maker and I keep thinking I should probably go back to full time, but then I would have to be a monogamous. I would stop meeting all these interesting people. I mean, I have a monogamous marriage, thank you very much and I am like a total mercenary when it comes to my work and my friendships. People are so awesome and they are what make work fun, and to make the work different and interesting and smart and just maximizing them by building relationships with them is the way to go. I love that.

J.B.:

I love that too.

Mary Michael:

I think I am addicted to connections.

J.B.:

Yeah, I'm the same way. I think that the idea of networking feels so transactional and it always has to me, and it was like I don't want a network, I just want friends and that's what I need in my life and I need it at work, I need it at play, I need it everywhere in there. Some people that I work with, that I'm friends with, that I don't see them outside of work, but I love. That doesn't mean I don't love them.

Molly:

For sure. I think about what is really your magic and how you do create this make believe on teams. Even in your storytelling you often talk about other people, but actually I often believe, mary Michael, it is you who is a catalyst that lets people be creative in the way that makes most sense to them. I do believe there's a magic that you have and you would never want to codify it because that's not your jam. But if I codified it for you things that you talk about as you come in with intentional joy, you embrace being vulnerable and sharing parts of yourself. You think about props and play and not being afraid of that, putting constraints around your work, creating moments where you're going to brainstorm for two hours and time it, but then you might need to take a nap to have that personal moment to come up with your own ideas. So you have to come in and out, and when you do, when you are intentionally designing for this, you can solve tough problems as friends on a team doing really hard work out there, and often you need that so that you can navigate and lead through complexity. And one thing we didn't even talk about was that often there are tears well up in people's eyes as they are brainstorming and building and making together because of it. So I'm so pleased you came on. Thank you, molly, thank you for that. And share with us some of your magic and stories. So thank you, Mary Michael, for being here today.

J.B.:

Thank you for joining us today and sharing your wisdom.

Mary Michael:

Well, thank you, I'm serious.

J.B.:

What a cool, fun, amazing person to lead a creative team.

Molly:

I'm totally jealous that you had the chance to work with Mary Michael so closely, molly, oh my gosh, I've just seen her catalyze joy, innovation, amazing work on great teams and with sometimes tough clients. So, jb, tell me what were some of your takeaways.

J.B.:

Well, the one thing that totally resonated with me was the idea of using friendship as an organizing principle for teams. It's not nepotism that she's talking about, but it's how we choose to work with each other in the creative sandbox, and friendship is one thing that really brings about safety, camaraderie and a lot of joy.

Molly:

Totally.

J.B.:

I also loved how she talked about connecting deeply through to childhood. Through that process, kids are just so fearless about trying new things and exploring new ideas. Because that's what kids do they're the ultimate beginners and we all can learn from that. How about you?

Molly:

What I loved hearing from Mary Michael was about the importance of not controlling the behavior of your audience. I think that also kind of relates to your teams as well. But one thing that she shared that in advertising you're always striving for 25% audience participation and that's like the dopamine hit. That's the emotional connection. We talked about relationships as our hobby and that leads to this sort of nonlinear, detoured, really creative process. But it lets you be inspired, it lets you bring your childhood self into work, it lets you be joyful and that's what gets teams to that next edge of innovation. Teams get to be emotionally connected, they get to find joy and belonging. It leads to great work because you're allowed to have that authenticity and freedom to find emotional connections with audiences at a whole different level. That's the magic of Mary Michael and I'm so glad the Unserious crew had a chance to learn with and from her.

J.B.:

And that's the show. Unserious is in its first season, so please subscribe, rate us, share with your friends, and you can keep tabs on us on our website, at Unseriouscom, or find us on Instagram at Unseriousfun. Thank you so much for tuning in.

Molly:

I want to put on the scarves and twirl around on stage and maybe light some candles and manifest shit.

Intro
Play in the workplace
Accelerating creativity and positivity
Hire, Fire, Boss!
The creative brief and brainstorming
Case study: Egypt Air
Friendships at work
Reflections and outro