Company-sponsored fun

by Jacqueline Hewer Head of Daytime Leopard Films

Photo Credit: Volkswagen 

So we’re sitting in a meeting room in a swanky hotel in Hoxton – me, a handful of other Argonon exec-types, and our CEO James Burstall.

James: ‘I know! Each person in this room should do a creative masterclass for the rest of the company! Anything you like!’

We say: ‘Great idea!’

We think: ‘OMG OMG OMG. What an earth am I going to do a creative masterclass about?’

Or was that just me?

Anyway, a week or so later, I’m running home after another day at the creative coalface, and I have a light bulb moment. My hugely talented development producer, Matt Winter, and I had been discussing councils which have particularly innovative approaches to running a local authority (bear with me), and he’d sent me a link to something called Fun Theory.

It’s brilliant.



And all of a sudden, there it was. The basis for a creative masterclass.

Fun theory is all about changing people’s behaviour by making that new behaviour fun. Gosh, it turns out it’s wordier to explain than I thought.

Anyway, click on the link, watch some of the clips, then you’ll get it.


So I started thinking about how we could apply this to making TV. I mean obviously there’s a clip show right there in just showing completely genius and funny ways of solving problems – it’s on my To Do list. But I’m more interested in how we can use that strategy to even come up with programme ideas in the first place.

Because it’s all about changing the way you think. Changing your approach to the way you think. Changing your reactions and responses. Training your mind to go another way, to try a different route. Not falling back on the tried and tested, not letting your mind default to its usual next step.

It’s about starting out with the result you want, and working backwards to find a way of achieving it.

What kinds of ideas could we come up with if we freed our minds like this? What would our programmes look like if our approach was radically different to anything we’d tried before?


Reader, I did the first masterclass.

I lured people in by saying I was going to show them how to inject fun in their lives, put a few sandwiches on a plate, showed a couple of fun theory clips, then started the brainstorm.

And do you know what – it was great. We did start thinking in different ways, taking new approaches, saying things we’d never usually say in a brainstorm with all our colleagues. We did have radical thoughts and fresh ideas. We did come up with the beginnings of a programme idea. And it was fun.


But much, much more importantly, I’m now off the hook on the masterclass front. Job done, feet up on desk, hands behind head, smug look on face. Having fun.